Elevator Etiquette
Keeping it Civilized in a Tight Spot

Anyone who’s ever ridden an elevator knows elevator etiquette is an important element of negotiating the mechanical ups and downs of the ride. As short as this ride may be, it can seem like an eternity when rudeness seems to be the prevalent behavior for your elevator ride. This is not to mention if you are claustrophobic, and who isn’t from time to time as people shove their way onto this already tight spot. The importance of manners cannot be overstated.





Before You Ride

Before you select your elevator be aware of the following situations to maximize your ride.

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  • Make sure you are waiting for an elevator that will travel to your floor. Many very tall buildings now segregate elevators by floor.

  • If this elevator bank pre-assigns which elevator you are to take, make sure you enter the proper floor so that you can get the assigned elevator letter from the box.

  • Find your assigned elevator and wait for the doors to open. Allow those who are on the elevator to get off first before attempting to board the elevator.

  • Once those departing the elevator are off, be polite and allow others to board first. Do not push and shove to get onto the elevator. You can hold the door open by pressing the closing device on the elevator door. This will provide sufficient time for all to enter.

  • Wait for the next elevator if the current elevator is at capacity. Do not jam yourself on, particularly if you are also bringing on a suitcase or other large article. No one enjoys that smashed in feeling.


When You Ride

There are several elevator etiquette tips to follow during your ride.

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  • Upon entering the elevator, select your floor if the elevator does not permit pre-selection. If you cannot get to the floor selection box due to someone in the way, respectfully request that they select the floor for you if it is not already selected.

  • Despite the scene in the movie, "Elf", the floor selector is not a Christmas tree. Select only the floor you wish to get to. No one likes a local.

  • Once you have a location to stand, turn and face the front of the elevator.

  • Move you and any article you brought on to a clear corner of the elevator and out of the way of the doors and floor selector if possible so that others may have access.

  • Keep conversations with colleagues at a quiet level. Avoid speaking about work sensitive topics, as you do not know who may be listening.

  • Avoid gossiping or other pejorative topics, as this is not only insensitive but could affect your image at work depending on who is listening.

  • As the elevator arrives at floors which are not yours, be sure to move aside to allow those behind you to get off the elevator. If you are in front of the doors, step off holding the elevator doors so those wishing to get off can and you can get back on the elevator.

  • If you are by the floor selector and new arrivals cannot select their floor, offer to select it for them.


Upon Arrival at Your Floor

Here are a few elevator etiquette guidelines to consider as you arrive at your floor.

  • If possible, move towards the doors to exit. If others are also exiting, queue up in a responsible manner. Do not shove your way to the front.

  • If not possible, as the doors open, respectfully request to be permitted to exit the elevator and move off the elevator accordingly bringing with you any personal belongings you entered with.


The way you conduct yourself during these circumstances speak volumes about you, both in a personal and in a professional way. You never know who you may be riding with. It may be someone you are about to meet in a meeting or someone influential in the firm. Make sure this first impression is a positive one by leveraging elevator etiquette. After all, it is just an extension of office etiquette and business etiquette.










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