The 10 Commandments of Elevator Manners

If you work in a tall building, taking the elevator is inevitable. People take it for granted, which often makes it the site of the most common etiquette blunders you’ll ever encounter at work.

These commandments apply universally.

  1. Thou shalt not fart.
  2. Thou shalt not attempt to board elevator before previous passengers have disembarked. The universe does not revolve around you.
  3. Thou shalt not press button for wrong floor without acting appropriately ashamed as elevator stops and doors open then shut without anyone leaving.
  4. Thou shall take the stairs if traveling between one or two floors, barring personal injury, lest incur the wrath of those traveling to the 32nd floor whose trips are delayed due to your laziness. (Justifying taking the elevator one floor because “they don’t know if I’m sick–I could have some horrible disease, for all they know” is a supreme form of laziness, and using this logic risks incurring said horrible disease in the interest of serving you right. Certainly, some otherwise healthy-looking people have problems preventing them from using stairs, but surely not everyone in the building is afflicted with such illnesses.)
  5. Thou shall hold the door for others running to catch the carriage. A plague on those who watch idly by as they slide shut in someone’s face.
  6. However, thou shalt not hold the door indefinitely and delay travel for other passengers. In a busy building, one could potentially hold the door for several minutes waiting for the carriage to fill. Unless someone is clearly attempting to catch that particular elevator, adopt the adage “thy snoozes, thy loses.”
  7. Thou shall wait for empty carriage if thou is sick. If that proves impossible, thou shall refrain from coughing/sneezing/etc. for duration of ride, even if this means thou’s face turns bright red and thou feels like dying.
  8. Thou shall give others their personal space in an uncrowded elevator.
  9. Thou shalt not call out their floor to the person standing nearest the buttons as if that person is the lift operator. If there is space to do so, thou shalt press button thyself.
  10. Thou shalt not carry on personal conversations, be they person-to-person or via cellular phone. Thine elevator is not thine phone booth.

Treat the elevator as an extension of your workplace, and behave as if your most important client is with you. Then you won’t find yourself sucking on a popsicle and scratching your rear when the CEO steps on board. You think it might not happen to you, but Barbara* from Beverly Hills did not think it would happen to her, either. Let’s all learn from Barbara, and act our best in the office elevator.

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