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9 Tips for Elevator Etiquette

Updated: Apr 22

Elevator etiquette? Did you know there was such a thing? Use these 1-minute interactions with fellow passengers to show kindness. Even the smallest gestures can make someone’s day better.

1. Sleeves are Great: When pushing the elevator button use the cuff on your shirt, or your elbow, to punch the button. This keeps you away from germy surfaces.

2. Stand to the Side: When you are waiting for the elevator to arrive, stand to the side. People may try to exit when the doors open, and you do not want to block their way.

3. Walk, Do Not Ride: The unstated rule is to take the stairs if you are only going two flights. Walk when you can. It is a healthier choice. (There are exceptions to this for our senior friends, parents with babies, and people with disabilities.)

4. Hold the Door/Do Not Hold the Door: We have all had the experience standing in an elevator when someone in the lobby yelled, “Hold the elevator!” Protocol states, if you are the only passenger, be kind and hold the door for the late arrival. If the lift is full, though, only hold the door if the late arrival can reach the doors within a few seconds. Otherwise, they need to catch the next ride. Why? Everyone’s time is important. You either sacrifice the time of those in the elevator, or you sacrifice the time of the late arrival. The late arrival should not ask an elevator full of people to wait. Always show kindness but use your judgement.

5. Go to Your Corner: If another passenger is on the elevator when the door opens, place yourself in the corner opposite them, and face forward. If you know you will be riding the elevator to the furthest floor, position yourself towards the back. This way others in the elevator do not need to walk past you to exit. Keeping a distance of at least three feet is considered the minimum for respecting someone’s personal space.

6. Floor 5, Please: If another person is closest to the button panel, tell them your floor number so they can push the button. This avoids many hands touching the same pad.

7. Greetings: Always Say hello when you enter an elevator with other people. This immediately breaks the ice and helps avoid that uncomfortable silence. No other words are necessary unless you know someone on the elevator. But a simple hello and a smile makes everyone feel comfortable.

8. Cell Phones: Passengers do not want to hear your cell phone conversation. No phone calls on the elevator.

9. Exit: Let those in the front two corners exit first. If anyone is standing in the middle, they go next. The two back corners exit last. If you are in the back of an elevator, it is nice to announce when your floor is arriving so others may move aside to let you exit.

We navigate life through the rules of etiquette, which is simply a playbook that shows us how to work together harmoniously. In all things, practice kindness. Good manners are nothing more than the outward expression of the condition of your heart. Smile, make eye-contact, and give others a nod. Your good intentions will shine through.

Together with you,

Lisa Lou


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