Having too little work can be just as damaging to the morale and motivation of employees as overloading them with work, new research has suggested.
The study by researcher Sirota Intelligence has found employees with too little work were less satisfied with their jobs than those with too much or just the right amount.
The poll of 203,000 workers found the most satisfied, perhaps unsurprisingly, said they had just the right amount of work.
The least satisfied were those with too little, followed by those with too much work.
Jeffrey Salzman, chief executive of Sirota Intelligence said the findings showed most workers did not want just to "get by" in their jobs.
"Most people come to work enthusiastic and want to make a real contribution. Those who feel they have too little to do – and possibly feeling unappreciated by their employers – have lower levels of overall satisfaction and a waning sense of enthusiasm," he said.
"Over-worked people in a sense are getting feedback from the organisation that their contributions are important. Conversely, when people feel under-worked, they also tend to feel under-valued and their job insecurity increases," he added.
Although there was a cost to employers from over-working employers there was an even bigger cost from leaving them under-worked, Salzman suggested.
"Companies need to consider employees' expectations for having the proper amount of work in order to achieve the best productivity, morale and employee retention," he said.