Research out of the University of Waterloo suggests business leaders could take a page from the playbook of NHL coaches for long-term success in the office.

The report, recently published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, examined the playing time of six NHL stars over the course of five seasons and found coaches who rested their most valuable players when they were already ahead in the game had more success in the long run than teams that did not change their ice-time strategy depending on the score.

James Beck, the lead author of the study and associate professor of industrial-organizational psychology, said this strategy for long-term success can be used in the office as companies that lean on their top performers can stress them out over time. 

“What I found particularly useful about the National Hockey League is that fatigue, injury, and energy…are real concerns,” Beck told CTV Kitchener.

Ryan Burgio, a managing partner at the Kitchener-based digital marketing agency Stryve, said his office uses a sports-like mentality in just about everything they do, including when it comes to resting their employees in advance of a big day.

“When things are off, go home, relax, because you're going to need to be refreshed for when you need to be at your peak performance,” he said.

Burgio adds he allocates employees to complete certain tasks based on their individual skills, much like skilled NHL players are given power play time, while the more defensive-minded players kill penalties.

“It’s knowing what people are good at and what they're not and making sure you're using that at the right time,” he said.