In business continuity we often discuss objectives, processes, systems and technology. But of course people are also a key part of how most organisations function. While stop-gap solutions and third-party assistance may save the day and keep operations going on a short-term basis, employees provide the creativity and innovation to keep a company viable for the longer term. So for everybody’s sake and for good business continuity, it makes sense to create a work environment in which employees can react constructively to emergencies and perform optimally at other times. For this, one theory says “don’t do more, but less”.

It’s called the 70 percent rule (now you can see where the 30 percent in the title came from). The idea is that productivity and motivation can both increase if people work at a less intense pace than ‘full-on all of the time’. Sportspeople know the wisdom of this; in fact, athletics was where the rule originally came from. Arnold Schwarzenegger for instance consistently followed a routine of one day on (working out) and one day off (resting) to become a body-building champion, before turning his talents to acting and politics. This kind of alternating routine can prevent injury for athletes and burnout for other professionals.

Practically speaking, the 70 percent rule in an organisation can be applied by working smarter instead of harder, taking the vacations and breaks that should be part of the job anyway, (politely) refusing unreasonable work demands and leaving a part of the working day unscheduled. Improved output and less work sounds like a dream. The 70 percent rule says you can have both, starting with less work! If there is a temporary peak in a workload or a crisis to be handled, employees then also have the additional capacity that can make the difference between business continuity and discontinuity.