On the Job

Elevator etiquette: Here are the ground rules

There’s something about being on an elevator. As soon as the doors shut, cramped space, stony silence or compulsory conversation can make for an awkward ride. Or you can almost feel your fellow passengers breathing down your neck, instantly transforming you into an uncomfortable, insecure germophobe.

Learning a little about etiquette can make your next lift a little easier. If you’re ever confronted with a closed-space conundrum, simply resort to this list of suggestions.

The Dos

  • Keep personal conversations to a minimum. Any indiscreet discussion held on an elevator may soon become fodder around the water cooler.
  • Take the stairs to travel up or down a floor or two, unless you have physical limitations. Your health and your co-workers heading to the lobby or an upper floor will thank you.
  • Wait for passengers to exit the elevator before you get on to avoid causing a traffic jam.

The Don’ts

  • Stand too close to others. Huddling up with other folks can be awkward, so try to maintain some distance.
  • Board the elevator after marinating in any kind of fragrance, from perfume or cologne to cigarette smoke.

Common elevator courtesy doesn’t require an advanced degree in sociology, just these few ground rules.