When taking an elevator, the ride does not last long, and the crowd may be large while the space is small. Here are a few key tips on elevator etiquette, which is the key to making these short rides as pleasant as possible for all those involved.
1. Follow the ‘Two-Flight’ Rule
The ‘two-flight’ rule dictates that one does not take an elevator unless they are traveling at least two flights up or down, and instead take the stairs. This is out of consideration for the other occupants of the elevator, so that an individual will not add a few more seconds to their commute. As always, there are exceptions to this rule, such as the elderly, the disabled, parents with strollers and so on.
2. Respect Personal Space
An individual’s personal space is important to keep in mind when interacting socially, especially in an enclosed space like an elevator. The general rules to respecting personal space are as follows: If only two people are in the elevator, it would be best to stand on opposite sides of the car. Three to four people should gravitate toward each of the corners. Five or more occupants should attempt to evenly space themselves out and face forward. Arms and hands should be kept at the sides to avoid contact.
3. Maintain Minimal Eye Contact and Conversation
In addition to respecting other riders’ personal space, maintain as minimal eye contact as possible to avoid making anyone uncomfortable. A brief smile or greeting would be the polite thing to do when entering an elevator, and afterward turn and face the door to avoid making excessive eye contact and force other occupants into making small talk.
4. Keep your Phone Calls Private
It is common courtesy when entering an enclosed space to stick to texting if communication at that very moment is necessary. If you are on a call just before entering, or receive a call while in an elevator, tell the person you will call them back ASAP to preserve the privacy of your conversation and avoid inconveniencing other occupants with a one-sided conversation.
5. Understand the Etiquette of Holding the Door
Holding an elevator door for someone is a bit of a touch-and-go situation, as each time the circumstances will differ. The general consensus is that if the person is less than a foot away from the elevator, and/or if you are the only other person in an elevator, it would be the polite thing to hold the door for them. If, on the other hand, the person is further away, and the elevator is almost full, it would be an inconvenience to everyone else in the elevator to hold the door for that person, and in those instances it would be alright to give an apologetic expression and let the doors shut.
6. Make Special Consideration for those with Special Circumstances
Before entering an elevator, if there is someone waiting with you with special circumstances, such as a person with a disability, a pregnant woman, a parent with a stroller or an elderly person, always try to make sure that person has a place on the elevator before entering yourself. If there is only room for one person, let that person enter, and wait to take another elevator afterward.
7. Entering and Exiting an Elevator
It is extremely important to keep in mind that before entering an elevator, always wait for the people inside the exit first. Similarly, when exiting an elevator, also keep a certain etiquette in mind. When an elevator is full, those standing closest to the doors should step out at the stops, to avoid the people toward the back of the elevator having to push and shove to exit. Hold the doors as they exit, to make re-entry back into the elevator as smooth as possible. Furthermore, if you are the one exiting at your stop, let the people in front know as you approach, with a simple ‘my floor is next’, to give them time to prepare to move out and let you exit.