Business provides chairs, office equipment for everyday use

A Lakeway entrepreneur is working to make each day a little less painful by designing office equipment that helps maximize productivity by reducing operator fatigue and discomfort, also known as ergonomics.

In fall 2009, Stephanie Gilbert opened Ergoprise as an online supplier of ergonomic furniture, computer devices and mobile solutions. The small business now caters to notable corporate clients— including Oracle Corp. and Honeywell International Inc.—in a two-story showroom that opened in June 2012 at 15303

S. Flamingo Drive, in Lakeway.

"We've all become sedate in our lifestyles," Gilbert said. "We don't want to be sitting for hours at a time. What happens is your metabolic rate comes to a standstill, your feet swell, your back and neck hurts [and] your spine compresses."

To combat these symptoms, Ergoprise outfits consumers with work and home products specifically geared to a person's height and weight, taking into account the individual's work environment, use and cost.

"We want the equipment to work for the user as opposed to the user contorting his body to fit the equipment," Gilbert said. "There's a safe way to sit and a safe way to stand."

After spending 10 years working for an ergonomic keyboard company before going solo, Gilbert recognized that customers wanted to be more efficient and shop for all their ergonomic products from one supplier.

A few months after breaking out on her own, Gilbert was signed by Oracle as the company's preferred ergonomic vendor. Corporate accounts with Baylor University and Bazaarvoice soon followed.

"From an aesthetic standpoint, corporations want a unified look, from the very conservative to the very wild," Gilbert said. "The chair [I outfit] for a petite person will have a special, shorter cylinder or a wider seat for a larger person —all in the same color scheme."

The draw for companies to switch to ergonomic desks that are the correct height or chairs that can accommodate variations in body types is a decrease in health care costs and an increase in productivity, Gilbert said.

If employees are in pain from poor equipment, companies will lose revenue when they call in sick or their performance drops because they don't feel well, Gilbert said.

"It's far less expensive to buy equipment than to pay the costs of surgery or medical leave," Gilbert said.

Gilbert's products range from ergonomic chairs in bright orange to height-adjustable desks, flexible lamps, cushions for wooden chair arms, anti-fatigue mats, therapeutic pillows and retractable keyboards.

"If you can't get everything [ergonomic] at once, do it in steps," Gilbert said.

Ergoprise, 15303 S. Flamingo Drive, Ste. A, Austin, 1-877-907-8688,