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Etiquette in lifts is something that there is definitely no written rulebook for, but many people seem to have a lot to say about it nonetheless. Lift or elevator etiquette is hardly a new thing, but when you begin to think about it, just why are so many of us so very awkward within a lift?

Elevator Awkwardness

According to an old, yet thoroughly interesting, article from the BBC website, the phenomenon of elevator awkwardness comes from the simple expedient of not having enough space. In most ‘normal’ situations, people try to maintain at least one arm’s length worth of space between them at all times, yet venturing into an elevator frequently renders this social habit impossible. Apparently, this is the main reason why people instinctively attempt to appear innocuous within an elevator (usually by avoiding eye contact and the like), but it’s not the only theory.

Another common mindset dictates that elevator awkwardness stems from an instinctive ‘fear’ of being trapped within a confined space. This might be obvious in the case of somebody who has an actual phobia of lifts, but it is suggested that all of us have an innate discomfort about the possibility of being trapped within an elevator. As a result, our behaviour becomes awkward, as our minds become solely focused upon leaving the ‘threatening’ environment as soon as possible.

Elevator Etiquette

Whatever the facts behind the phenomenon might be, lifts are clearly awkward, although essential, places for many of us to be, and perhaps it is this that has given rise to so many habits and ‘rules’. A number of examples of this code of etiquette were compiled by The Guardian in 2012, and it’s certainly interesting to see our pet lift peeves ranked in order of severity!

  • Monopolising a lift by holding the door open for too long annoyed 20% of the surveyed people. No matter whether you are waiting for someone or not, this is obviously a habit to avoid!
  • Queue jumping is universally disliked, and jumping a lift queue is no exception to that rule. Of course, the team at Axess2 reckon that the right sort of elevator should cut down on your queues anyway, but that’s another story!
  • Talking in a lift has always been somewhat taboo. It’s just about acceptable if you’re already in a conversation when you enter the lift, but otherwise conversation – and especially talking on a mobile phone – is heavily discouraged.
  • Holding the lift door open when you see a colleague running is something that is sure to divide opinion. Courtesy dictates that you should do it, but many people object to the habit on the grounds that it is slowing the progress of the lift. A difficult one.
  • 36% of the Guardian’s surveyed people had real issues with people who squeezed into crowded lifts, whilst 28% also took offence when people didn’t move out to make space where necessary. Obviously space is a real concern, which leads us on to…
  • …standing too close to people in a lift! This is perhaps the universal pet peeve of lift users, and some people get very hot under the collar when other lift users stand close to them (or stare) without good reason. Frequently, people seem to engage in a sort of complicated ‘chess game’ to leave as much space as possible in a lift, and, apparently, that’s just the way we all like it.

Here at Axess2, we’re not entirely sure that it’s our place to instruct you regarding the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ of lift etiquette, but we’re pretty confident that we’re the best option when it comes to supplying them! Of course, things like smaller lifts for stairs are far less complicated in terms of manners as well (to say nothing of dumb waiters), so there’s no need to get yourself mired in the realms of elevator etiquette each time you encounter a lift. To find out more about our options for lifts, don’t hesitate to contact us now by calling 01200 405 005 or emailing today. We’ll always be pleased to help!