Contrary to what some people believe, employees who have too little work are actually less satisfied with their jobs than those who are burdened with too much.
A study by attitude research specialists Sirota Consulting has found that the most satisfied employees are those who say they have just the right amount of work.
They rated their overall satisfaction with their jobs at a 73 on a 100-point scale. Those with the second highest satisfaction – 57 out of 100 - were those who have ‘too much work’.
Boredom leads to much reduced satisfaction, however. Those who said they had ‘much too little work.’ rated their job satisfaction at only 32 on the 100-point scale.
Even those snowed under by 'far too much work’ were happier, rating themselves a full 10 points higher at 42 out of 100.
The study of over 800,000 employees at 61 organisations worldwide also revealed the surprising fact that employees in Europe and Asia are about three times less satisfied with having ‘much too little work’ than North American workers.
Europeans gave being excessively under-worked a satisfaction rating of only a 12 in comparison to North American employees who gave a satisfaction rating of 36.
Employees in Europe and Asia are also less satisfied than North American workers with having ‘much too much work’, although the differences are not as great.
European and Asian employees with ‘much too much work’ rated their overall job satisfaction at 34 and 25 respectively, while similar North American employees had a job satisfaction rating of 44.
"Although there is a cost to employers when their employees are over-worked, there may be an even bigger cost due to boredom from being under worked," said Sirota's Nick Staritt.
"Companies need to consider employees’ expectations for having the proper amount of work in order to achieve the best productivity, morale and employee retention. It’s a balancing act to get this formula right for all types of workers in different settings."