Politeness costing British businesses "millions"

Catherine Neilan
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Politeness: Put that brolly down and get in the office (Source: Getty)
Politeness might cost you nothing, but it seems it is costing your company a whole lot of money.
A new report claims that over-politeness could be costing British businesses millions of pounds each year.
To be fair, it's not so much the time it takes to say please and thank you or holding open the door for colleagues, but more fears of being seen as rude that stop us from managing difficult situations at work.
Nearly two-thirds of people said they were too polite when these scenarios surfaced and 78 per cent admitted it could be costing them money.
Specific examples include nearly a quarter (22 per cent) of managers saying they did not challenge staff for taking an overly long lunch break, while 21 per cent did nothing about people turning up to work late.
One fifth admitted they had not challenged fraudulent expenses claims because they were being polite.
It seems a fifth of us are worried about upsetting people, a further fifth said they didn't feel comfortable having difficult conversations with employees and 17 per cent did not want to appear rude.
When dealing with clients the story is the same: a quarter of people said they hadn't questioned a client over a late payment, while a fifth of respondents said they avoided conversations around doing work they are not being paid for.
Adam Reynolds, chief executive of Webexpenses, which commissioned the research, said: “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.”
Perhaps it's time for that other British stereotype to be rolled out - the stiff upper lip.

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