A few Helpful Hints for correct Elevator Etiquette

Many of us use elevators every day from the city to the suburbs, in commercial office buildings, to apartment buildings, to the shopping center car park. There are times when you ride solo and there are time when you ride with others. So what are the rules both written and unwritten; what, exactly, constitutes good elevator etiquette?

Packed into a box smaller than a bathroom

There is rarely any other time, in our busy lives, when the differences of personal space, hygiene, language and culture can be literally forced into a tightly packed space no bigger than many bathrooms. There are a few rules on common courtesy we need to observe.

There are many rules

The deeper we look into this topic the more bizarre information we find and the more rules we discover! Personally, I thought “breaking wind” in a confined space was pretty much it, but this is just the tip of the Iceberg. There are even variances from country to country, it’s like driving on the right side of the road, or driving on the left, if you get it wrong, there could be an accident.

A Stressful Elevator Ride

Let us not forget, more importantly than any etiquette, there are those who find the ride in an elevator stressful, for genuine reasons, and some would rather take the stairs.
Consider those who are claustrophobic, the inside of an elevator can be terrifying; the fear of heights and social anxiety can make the elevator ride stressful enough to opt for the stairs instead.


Here are a few ideas to ensure that you follow the proper elevator etiquette, so you don’t offend your fellow passengers, and you too can have a comfortable stress free ride to the top.

#1. While waiting in the lift lobby

When the doors open, allow those inside to disembark first; don’t board the elevator until everyone has gotten off.

#2. Hold the door open for others.

When deciding whether or not to hold the elevator, consider the following thoughts:
– It’s good elevator etiquette to hold the elevator for a person approaching the elevator.
– Don’t hold the door for a friend or colleague who has taken a quick side-trip.
– Never hold the door for more than 15-20 seconds on a crowded elevator.

#3. You’re at the front of the car in a crowded elevator

If you happen to be riding in the front, make sure to step off the elevator when the doors open on each floor. When you step out, ensure you hold the elevator door open with your hand as the people from the back of the elevator make their way out.

#4. If the elevator is near full, don’t try and squeeze in

When the elevator doors open and you see it is full, don’t try and squeeze in when you don’t fit. It is embarrassing and it’s physically uncomfortable for all.

Now with Covid-19 obey the signs at the lobby, but if there are no signs, keep your 2 meters apart or wait for the next one

#5. Don’t yell out to “hold the elevator!”

If you cannot make it before the elevator doors close, then wait for the next elevator. Don’t call out, it is distracting and we all know you are already very important

#6. Pushing the buttons.

If you are standing near the buttons, be willing to push a button for someone who asks. You can also offer to those who have just entered but don’t make it a career move. Neither should you ask someone else to push the button for you unless you cannot clearly push the button yourself?

#7. Move to the back.

When you step into an elevator, file in and move to the back of the car so others may fit without discomfort. If you know you have the longest trip, it is better to stand farthest from the elevator doors after you board the elevator. This way you will avoid inconveniencing others.
If you’re in the back, announce your floor is coming up as it approaches. A simple “Excuse me” is enough, don’t make a song and dance about the whole thing. Wait until the elevator doors open, then, make your way to the front.

#8. Talking.

It’s always good to say “Good Morning” or “Hello” to people, but don’t make a meal of it. the elevator is not a bar to “pick up” the mailroom boy or girl.
Neither is the elevator a board room, if you’re with a colleague, don’t take the elevator a board room. Have your meetings in the privacy of your office, not in the elevator.
If you want to speak to a colleague in the elevator, keep the conversation light. Never gossip or discuss personal or private information while in an elevator.

#9. Face forward.

When you enter the elevator turn and face the forward, don’t make others feel awkward by facing them directly.

#10. Never talk on your mobile phone.

End all conversations before entering the elevator, or put the phone on mute until you exit again. Passengers don’t want to hear your half of the conversation, they have their own details to deal with. Never take a phone call while in the lift, just don’t do it. You wouldn’t take a call in the bathroom, don’t take the call in the elevator.

#11. How bad is the Odor?

The small, confined spaces of an elevator will draw attention to anybody’s odor, any foods, any bad breath, and any natural gas which may inadvertently escape the confines of your clothing. Be aware and keep these odors under control.

#12. The Elevator is Not a Bathroom.

Good Elevator etiquette is not to use the elevator as a bathroom, No one should ever use the mirrors for grooming.

#13. HeadPhone Music

Headphone music is fine, but don’t have it up so loud the other passenger are also hearing it. Keep the volume down or the music off.

#14. Remove your hat and Sun Glasses.

Take your hat off and your sunglasses off, especially in the current climate. It is pleasant to know whom the passengers are traveling with.

#15. Wait your turn.

Those who have been waiting for the longest should board first, it is the natural way of things, the only exception is if there are disabled, elderly, or people needing assistance. Look to your fellow passengers and ensure their approval, but, the frail and disabled should always have priority in the elevator Que.

We hope this has been helpful. The bulk of this was written pre COVID – 19, hopefully, we’ll return to normal sooner than later. Stay Safe.

Enjoy your day