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Lift Manners

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 27 Aug 2015 | comments*Discuss
 
Lift Etiquette Elevator Etiquette Using

Many of us work in office blocks and other buildings in which using a lift will become part and parcel of our everyday routine. In fact, in the case of many large tower blocks, it’s a case of “where would we be without them?” Most people would also agree that it’s far better when you get the lift all to yourself. You might preen yourself in the reflection from the mirrored glass often contained inside, sing a favourite song, curse your boss and even pick your nose! Chances are, however, that most of the time you’ll be sharing this small cramped space with a number of others. Therefore, it’s useful to know the different types of unwritten etiquette which surrounds the use of lifts at work. Some of the biggest blunders when it comes to etiquette in general seem to happen when using lifts but this article should hopefully steer you in the right direction.

DO'S

  • If you’re already in the lift, the doors are still open but are about to close and you see people running for the lift, be sure to keep hold of the door or press the appropriate button on the panel so that they have time to get in. There’s nothing worse than a person seeing the lift door open as they try and reach it in time and then it suddenly slams shut in their face. For the person or people inside, it can sometimes provide them with a little bit of amusement but you can be sure that if you let the door slam just when they’re inches away from getting to the lift in time, the person who misses the lift is far more likely to remember YOUR face than you’ll remember theirs
  • If you are feeling unwell, especially if you’re coughing and sneezing uncontrollably, try to wait and use a lift carriage which is empty whenever possible. In such a confined space, coughing and sneezing is not going to make you very popularIf the lift is not crowded, make sure you give others sufficient personal space

DON’TS

  • Especially in busy tower blocks where lifts are used frequently by several people at a time - and most of them in a rush – do not call a lift to stop if you just need to travel between 1 or 2 floors. Time is money in business and as you could have simply used the stairs if it’s just a floor or two, people are likely to form a bad impression of you. (This is usually more of a problem with people wanting to ascend rather than descend, for obvious reasons)
  • If a lift is crowded, don’t hold up the lift to wait indefinitely until your friend or colleague has had time to powder their nose or go to the toilet. You’re holding people up. The general rule of etiquette here is that if you cannot see the person you’re holding the door for in the distance, say, on a corridor, and or, where they’re not making an effort to hurry up, you simply let the doors close and let they can catch the next lift
  • The person standing right next to the control panel is NOT the lift operator. If a lift is extremely crowded, they might choose to take on that role anyway and ask you what floor you want them to press but usually you should press it yourself and not simply say, “Hey, mate d’ya mind pressing ‘4’ for me. Ta”. In lifts which aren’t crowded, it’s your responsibility to press your own button
  • Don’t use a mobile phone in a lift which is occupied. It’s bad manners. In fact, unless everyone in the lift knows each other, it’s rather impolite to hold any kind of conversation whatsoever if, say, you’re in the lift with a colleague. Most lift conversation will usually be with strangers, should be kept to a minimum and mostly be of a very general (and often boring nature), e.g. “wasn’t that rain bad this morning?”

Finally, the biggest ‘NO-NO’ of all when it comes to lift etiquette….DO NOT under any circumstances break wind even if that means your face turning purple. It will only embarrass you and cause a mixed response of hilarity, ridicule and disgust. Don’t even be tempted to do it ‘silently’. Your facial expression will always give the game away.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Mick - Your Question:
I read in an old book that, according to etiquette, the only time a male should go through a door before a female is when entering a lift.I'm assuming this custom comes from the olde worlde days when lifts were a novelty and not fully trusted, so the male would "test" the lift. If it plummeted 20 floors, the female may not be inclined to follow him.

Our Response:
That's an interesting thought, thanks for your comment.
WorkEtiquette - 28-Aug-15 @ 2:46 PM
I read in an old book that, according to etiquette, the only time a male should go through a door before a female is when entering a lift. I'm assuming this custom comes from the olde worlde days when lifts were a novelty and not fully trusted, so the male would "test" the lift. If it plummeted 20 floors, the female may not be inclined to follow him.
Mick - 27-Aug-15 @ 9:58 PM
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