What? You mean there’s etiquette for using elevators? Seriously?
Yes, there is. And when you consider how there’s also etiquette for using escalators (i.e., stand on the right and keep the left side free for rushing pedestrians), perhaps the same for elevator usage won’t seem quite so strange.
In most countries, the following rules are a given. If you live in Australia, for instance, you may have already find yourself abiding by these. In the Philippines, however, overall compliance with these simple guidelines leave much to be desired:
- Give way to those in need.
- Let those exiting the elevator go first.
- Hold the door for others.
- Refrain from stuffing the elevator beyond capacity.
This pertains to pregnant women, the elderly, those with babies or small children in prams, and people with mobility issues. If you are neither of the aforementioned, let them get on the elevator first.
Alternatively, go for stairs. You might as well get a bit of exercise in.
Contrary to popular belief, squishing yourself into an elevator’s concern won’t create enough space for people to pass through. Neither would holding your breath and sucking in your stomach, unfortunately.
If you are standing near the doors and someone from the back needs to get out, please step out to make way for them. You can then get back inside once they’ve exited.
Some malls and buildings employ elevator operators. In the absence of such, however, those nearest to the elevator buttons should help out. For instance, you can press the buttons for your companions’ designated floors (especially if they happen to have their hands full).
You should also press the hold button when people need to get in and out of the elevator. Don’t be that douchebag who presses the close button when they see someone rushing to get in.
Usually, there are indicators on elevators that go off when it’s stuffed to capacity. If you get on and notice some odd blinking or beeping, please, please, please get off and wait for the next one.
And no, it’s not just about breathing space and comfort. (Though, honestly, do you want to breath in what the person next to you had for lunch for a good two minutes? Yep, I didn’t think so either.) The safeguards are there to prevent the elevator from operating beyond its capacity. Ignoring them can compromise everyone’s safety.
Besides, do you really want to risk crashing to your death in an overstuffed elevator? Again, I didn’t think so either.
The word “etiquette” is often associated with high society’s stuffiness and formality, but its origins have more to do with courtesy, actually.