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Happiness at work

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(CNN) -- The British consulting firm I-Opener tackles an unusual concern in the business world. Rather than bottom-line profits, stockholder share prices and market expectations, the firm focuses on happiness.

Happiness at work affects productivity, experts say. "I think having that concern as an organization can really point to some important structural aspects of the way work is done," Barbara Friedrickson, a positive psychology professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill told CNN. "When business teams are able to get to this higher ratio of positive to negative emotions, they seem to unlock a lot of resourcefulness within the team."

It is these ideas of positive psychology that the firm uses to advise its clients, which include big-name companies --Cisco Systems, Puma, Pirelli and Wimbledon.

Co-founders Philippa Chapman and Jessica Pryce-Jones sat down with CNN to answer a few questions about the company.

CNN: Why focus on happiness at work?

Pryce-Jones: There is a clear link to the bottom line. It is easy to track happiness to profit, all you have to do is to look at intention to quit, overtime worked and sickness, and one other thing ... missing office supplies.

Chapman: People don't like to focus on happiness, so we have words like "job satisfaction" or "morale."

Pryce-Jones: A lot of the language used at work comes from military terms in the first place. So you're "out in the field" and you're "doing operations" and if you start to use militaristic language, and "morale" is a militaristic term, that's the kind of workplace you end up with.

CNN: What are the top three commandments for happiness at work?

Pryce-Jones: Having some control over what you do, thinking optimistically, giving and receiving constructive feedback.

CNN: How does control affect happiness and the workplace?

Pryce-Jones: Control is an enormous factor on how you feel about your job. It's always in the top tier in the data.

CNN: Do you help people feel like they have more control?

Pryce-Jones: Yes, and to have more ability to affect their circumstances and how they feel about what they are doing. ... Happiness for us, at work, is the stretch to extend yourself. So it's not about a peak moment, which makes you all joyful and excited. That's something else. Happiness is about this journey that you're on. ... It's not about the arrival point.

CNN: Are there some companies that are more unhappy than others?

Pryce-Jones: Law firms are traditionally some of the most unhappy places to work. It just shows that money doesn't make for happiness. Junior partners trying to make senior partner have to really fight, and there is very clear data showing how they stress themselves out and how sick they get.

CNN: Is it possible to change -- to make yourself happier at work -- if you were just not born that way?

Pryce-Jones: As individuals we all have a different range [of happiness]. What's important is how you maximize your personal range, and what we do is to find those different tools and techniques to make people as happy as they can be at work.

Chapman: We don't make people happy. People are responsible for their own happiness. We get people to look at what contributes to their own happiness and who is responsible for those contributing factors.

And that itself is such an eye-opener, because if you break it down, you have got influence over a huge majority of the factors that go into making you happier at work.

CNN: How do you get people to hire you?

Pryce-Jones: Through recommendations. We haven't done any marketing.

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Philippa Chapman, left, and Jessica Pryce-Jones, are the founders of I-Opener, a happiness consulting firm.

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