What are your levels of happiness at work? Did you bounce into work joyfully and end the day with the warm glow of a job well done? Or did you turn in reluctantly, fritter away your time and not really accomplish anything?

I’m not admitting which category I fall into – but if the latest reports are to be believed, British workers are a quarter less productive than their counterparts in the United States.

According to the Telegraph, the gap between the two countries is at its widest for 17 years and we are now lurking second from bottom in a league of developed nations.

Gloomy news, which certainly doesn’t bode well for the recovery of the economy, but who’s fault is it exactly? Economists are pointing the finger at an inefficient public sector, poor education and low levels of research and development in British business.

Employees themselves, however, seem to have a different perspective. A recent survey revealed that 81 per cent of staff feel their skills are not being fully used at work. Respondents expressed frustration that they were not being stretched enough and were often stuck in roles that didn’t match their abilities.

Food for thought for those of you concerned with performance management perhaps?

The iOpener Institute for People and Performance thinks it may have the answer. Happiness at work, it suggests, is the key to helping employees fulfil their potential and maximise their performance.

The Institute’s research suggests there are five important drivers to achieving a workforce full of happy smiley people. Employees need to feel valued for their contribution – and confident in their ability to deliver the goods. They need to be committed to their work and to feel they ‘fit’ with the corporate culture. Plus, they need high levels of motivation to help them keep going through good times and bad.

Does this sound like your business? You can measure your own happiness at work quota by taking the iOpener Institute survey here.

Erika Lucas author image

Erika Lucas

Writer and Communications Consultant

Erika Lucas is a writer and communications consultant with a special interest in HR, leadership, management and personal development. Her career has spanned journalism and PR, with previous roles in regional press, BBC Radio, PR consultancy, charities and business schools.