I work at a small-ish company with less than 50 people. We have one conference room/board room that is used around 30-40% of the time.
Now as a startup we are very cash-strapped and as a result our chairs have never been replaced. We buy new ones when we need to but I don't think we've ever thrown one out. The oldest ones in the office are probably more than 5 years old at this point.
In the conference room we have ~10 identical chairs that are very much superior to the one I use 8 hours a day.
We don't have much of a culture of improving your work environment and people around me (programmers) often are stuck with 5 year old computers that are very, very slow.
So my question is, for my back's sake, is it ok to swap my chair with one from the conference room and if so, how should I approach this?
Edit: Wow I didn't expect so much attention here. A huge thanks to all of you!
Here's some more info:
Yes, the 10 chairs in the meeting room are identical but different (and superior) to most other chairs.
I agree that "Is it ethical" may be the wrong question here, and I do know that it is in fact, unethical, to take one of these chairs without asking. That's why this question exists.
After reading your answers I realize that this is a broader issue of our company where no one "asks" for anything and management doesn't proactively provide much. If I bring this up, it will be definitely setting precedent in the company. Maybe that is for another question but I'll throw it out here first: Are there any risks for me to try to set this precedent in the company?
Thanks again for all the discussion and suggestions here! I've accepted the top answer and will indeed simply ask.
Thanks for all the other concerns as well, but the 5-year-old computers are sort of irrelevant to this question. To help close out some arguments though these computers are 5 years old and very slow, I'm not saying there is a necessary causal relationship here but that's how they are. I have nothing against 5-year-old computers nor slow ones but they do impede productivity.