As a public serveice, I feel compelled to bring you this important announcement:
EMBARGOED UNTIL: APRIL 1, 2006
MEDIA RELEASE: New NZ Standard on Lift Etiquette
Standards New Zealand has initiated a new Standard to govern the way in which people behave in and around lifts. The Standard will specify appropriate queuing behaviour, right-of-way rules for those exiting and entering lifts, and - most importantly - define appropriate behaviour when actually travelling in lifts.
"Standards NZ has become aware of concerns amongst the general public about an increasing tendency for rudeness that seems to be triggered by close proximity to lifts," says Rob Steele, Chief Executive at Standards NZ.
"New Zealanders seem to become downright unfriendly when entering lifts. For some reason, Kiwis do not generally converse with others in lifts. And they seem to be almost paranoid about maintaining equal spacing between themselves and all other lift occupants."
Lift occupants also typically face the door of the lift rather than look at each other, he says. These problems are said to be worse in larger New Zealand cities.
The new Standard will require those queuing for lifts to actively engage in conversation and to maintain that conversation when travelling in the lift. To facilitate this interaction, people will be required to stand in a circle facing the middle of the lift. Although the committee responsible for developing the Standard was considering requiring those leaving a lift to say 'have a nice day', they concluded this may have been a bit over-the-top.
The 'personal space' experts on the committee drew extensively from their knowledge of urinal etiquette when developing the Lifts Standard. "Many of the basic psychological drivers of behaviour are the same," says Professor IP Freely, from the committee.
"Polite conversation or sharing a joke are now considered normal or even expected behaviour at the urinal. The most interesting difference is the effect of alcohol on urinal etiquette, willingness to converse seems to be directly related to blood alcohol levels."
Professor Freely says the committee is considering developing a urinal etiquette Standard once the lift Standard is complete and will draw on much of the content of the lift Standard. "Obviously, there will be some discrepancies. For example standing in a circle to increase conversation will not be practical."
The lift etiquette project was initiated by Standards NZ on April 1, 2006.