9 Points of Elevator Etiquette

ElevatorEtiquetteWhen it comes to riding an elevator, do you have a pet peeve? I think the most common one used to be someone pushing extra buttons, either by mistake or mischief. Now, there are a number of possibilities, everything from people talking on cell phones to my personal favorite, not letting riders disembark before moving in.

There is such a thing as elevator etiquette, and like many concerns, it’s a combination of common sense and courtesy.

1.  Pay attention to which direction the car is traveling. Not only will it save you time, it will also save you embarrassment.

2.  Stay clear of the doors and allow people to exit before you enter. If the car is obviously crowded, don’t attempt to squeeze in “just one more”; wait for the next elevator.

3.  Stand close to a wall or corner, and if possible, towards the back if you are going to a higher floor. Understand that if you choose to stand near the panel, you may be asked to press buttons for other passengers. As other people enter, shift your position as needed for the comfort of yourself and others – both physically and psychologically.

4.  If you are carrying a backpack, briefcase, or large bag, hold it on or near the floor in front of you. Our legs and feet are usually much narrower that our shoulder and chest area, so there is more space down low. This not only keeps your belongs out of other people’s way, but you are less likely to inadvertently bang into them as you maneuver your way in and out of the elevator car.

5.  Do you hold the door? It depends. If someone is running towards the elevator, be courteous and hold it open. If a person asks to wait for a friend or colleague who will be along in “just a minute” and it would mean delaying others, then no, there is no obligation (the person can take the next car.)

6.  Move aside as best you can when someone is trying to exit, even if it means stepping out of the car for a moment and then re-boarding. If your floor is next up, let your fellow passengers know you will need out before you arrive, then excuse yourself as you step past them. There should be no need to push!

7.  Where are you supposed to look? Most often, people will gaze at the ground, the closed doors, the button panel, or watch as the floors tick off over head; it is a way to avoid interaction . However, you are not committing a faux pas if you make eye contact and exchange a smile, so feel free let friendliness rule. I would suggest taking your cue from your fellow passengers.

8.  Cell phone conversations are inappropriate. It can be bad enough when people expose the details of their conversation in a public location, but to force people to listen to a one-sided discussion while riding in an elevator? Either don’t make the call until you arrive at your floor, or don’t step on the elevator until your conversation is finished.

9.  Ahh..choo! Please, cover your mouth and nose when sneezing and/or coughing on an elevator (or anywhere else, for that matter.) Bothered by a runny nose? Have a supply of tissues. It may be allergies, but in this season of colds and flu, no one is interested in your explanation – or your germs. If at all possible, wait for an empty car to avoid exposing others directly.

Whenever there are two or more people together, it becomes an interaction, regardless of what is (or isn’t) said or done, and no matter the size of the space. Always make a good impression – you never know who might be in there with you.

Do you know that mirrors were first installed in elevators to distract people from the fear of an elevator crashing to the ground? The mirrors provided riders something to focus on – their appearance – instead of staring at a blank wall while their imaginations ran wild.


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