Research released today 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 percent of office-based business managers claim that being too polite could be costing their organisation money.

When asked if they were too polite when managing difficult situations at work, nearly two thirds of respondents said that they were. In addition, as many as 22 percent of managers said that they have not challenged the people they manage about taking too long on their lunch break, with a further 21 percent saying that they hadn’t challenged people coming into work late. Perhaps most strikingly, 20 percent 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 percent); not feeling comfortable having difficult conversations with employees (20 percent); and not wanting to appear rude (17 percent) – 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 a quarter of those questioned saying that they have not challenged a client over late payment, with a further 20 percent 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 percent of UK managers. This is followed by managers not wanting to cause trouble (21 percent) or not wanting to appear rude (21 percent), while a further 20 percent 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.

“Our aim at webexpenses is to arm those overseeing company expenses with clear visibility of their company’s finance function, so that company expenses can be managed effectively. What’s more our software also has the ability to incorporate company expenses policy reminders for all users across an organisation – these helping businesses to minimise the risk of fraudulent and inaccurate claims. We’d strongly encourage all UK businesses to make the most of the tools now available to them to help boost their company’s bottom line.”