Is over-politeness at work costing you money?

Nearly 80% of UK Managers think that over politeness at work could be costing their business money.

Research reveals that over politeness in the workplace could be detrimental to UK businesses. The research conducted by online expenses management provider, webexpenses, found that a staggering 78% of office-based business managers claim that being too polite could be costing their organisation money.

polite business

When asked if they were too polite when managing difficult situations at work, nearly two thirds of respondents (63.6%) said that they were. In addition, as many as 22% of managers said that they have not challenged the people they manage about taking too long on their lunch break, with a further 21% saying that they hadn’t challenged people coming into work late. What’s more 20% said that they hadn’t challenged a fraudulent expenses claim.

The top reasons given by respondents as to why they hadn’t challenged wrongdoing in the workplace were due to managers not wanting to upset anyone (20%); not feeling comfortable having difficult conversations with employees (20%); and not wanting to appear rude (17%) – all of these symptomatic of over politeness in the workplace.

The research also revealed that it’s not only their own staff that UK business managers are avoiding having awkward conversations with. Showing over politeness to customers/clients is also costing UK businesses time and money with 25% of those questioned saying that they have not challenged a client over late payment, with a further 20% saying that they have avoided having difficult conversations about doing work they are not being paid for.

Concerns about losing business is the number one reason for avoiding awkward conversations with clients and customers for 23% of UK managers. This is followed by managers not wanting to cause trouble (21%) or not wanting to appear rude (21%). While a further 20% were worried about upsetting someone.

Adam Reynolds, CEO of webexpenses, comments: “The findings of our research clearly show that stereotypical British politeness is having an increasingly detrimental effect on the nation’s businesses. The reluctance of UK managers to challenge their employees over simple discrepancies and a failure to observe simple workplace protocol could be costing these organisations considerable amounts of money and time. For instance, when looking at expense claims our research revealed that over 26% of managers feel ‘awkward’ or wouldn’t know how to deal with a person who has made a fraudulent claim expenses claim in the workplace.”

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