I had to share a bed with a coworker on a business trip

A reader writes:

Some coworkers and I recently went on overnight travel, and the plan was to have us split two hotel rooms. Sharing a room with people I work with is less than my favorite thing, but we’re a nonprofit, and it has been decided that this is what we’ll do to save money, so I grit my teeth and vent later if needed to friends and family.

I expected this trip would follow the standard room sharing format, and that I would probably be the one who ended up sharing a room with my boss. However, there were some unexpected changes that ultimately resulted in three people sharing one room with two beds. Those last two points I did not realize until the moment we walked into the room. My stomach dropped when I saw the beds. As the more senior of the two, I quietly told my coworker to take the extra bed for themselves; through what remaining crumb of fortune there was, it ended up that I shared a bed with Coworker instead of Boss.

I hope it doesn’t require much explanation to convey how very, very upset I was to have to share what amounted to every last inch of personal space. It’s bad enough to lose any potential downtime during these trips because I am sharing a room with a coworker who usually is more interested in continuing work conversations late into the night, or who snores, or who talks in their sleep, or who gets up an hour before I need to, or who simply by virtue of their presence means I won’t be able to take my brain out of work mode after a 12- or 14-hour day. But to share a bed?! There is a very, very short list of people who I want to share a bed with, and no matter how much I will ever like the people I work with, they will never, ever be on that list. I have enough things to worry about on these trips. Kicked or being kicked by my coworker as we toss and turn, or not being able to actually sleep because there is a strange person in my bed, should not be one of those things.

To me it is so incredibly obvious why you should NOT EVER SHARE A BED WITH A COWORKER. However, when I made a comment about it just as an aside to my coworker, Coworker replied wondering why bed-sharing was a problem, and I found myself at almost a complete loss for words to explain why this was so out of bounds. My manager never made any comment about the room or beds, either, and I suspect that they saw nothing wrong with the arrangement.

I plan to bring this up with Boss, but I’m having difficulty on finding words that would be effective when I’m the only person who seems to find what happened unreasonable and unprofessional. Seeking advice from friends and family doesn’t bring my phrasing out of the “apoplectic” category. Do you have any advice you could share any advice on how to bring this up like a calm and reasonable adult?

Your letter has given me nightmares.

Under no circumstances is it reasonable to expect you to share a bed with a coworker.

Good lord.

Was the front desk not willing to send up a cot, at least?

In any case, yes, yes, yes, speak to your boss. Say this: “Somehow on our last trip, Jane, Lucinda, and I ended up booked into a room with only two beds, and Jane and I ended up having to sleep in the same bed. I don’t know if it was intentionally booked that way or if it was a fluke. I’m not comfortable sharing a bed with a coworker, and I’m sure others aren’t either. I want to make sure we’re not intentionally booking people that way. Also, if it somehow happens again, I want to make sure it’s okay for me to expense a separate room at the hotel for one of the people.”

I don’t think she’ll push back too strongly because sharing a bed with with colleagues is not normal (despite your coworker’s weird stance), but if she does, say this: “I’m just not comfortable with it and don’t want to do it again.” If necessary, you can add, “Sleeping in the same bed as someone is an intimate activity, and we can’t require employees to do that.”

This is a reasonable position to draw a line on.

As for the room-sharing, separate from the bed-sharing … It is indeed true that there are some industries where sharing hotel rooms is the norm, like academia and some nonprofits, but frankly I think there are times when it’s reasonable to push back on that as well. I come from nonprofits too and I get the desire to be responsible with money — and I shared some hotel rooms with coworkers in my 20s, so I know that it’s a thing that happens although Never Again, Holy Hell, No, Never Again — but there’s a point where it’s just not reasonable to ask that of people, especially senior people, and especially on particularly draining trips or when there would be three of you (!) in the room. You know your organization best so you know if there’s room to advocate change there, but I wouldn’t write it off.

But sharing a bed? Sticking with a flat “I’m not comfortable doing that again” is the way to go here. And then follow through — if you ever find yourself in that situation again, pick up the phone, call the front desk, and get an additional room. Part of business travel is that you sometimes need to adjust your travel arrangements on the fly, and discovering that you’ve been booked into an intimate slumber party certainly qualifies as a good reason.

{ 544 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. addlady

    EEEEEEEwwwwwwwwwww

    I sleep with my husband. I have occasionally slept with a sister, or with a best friend at a sleepover. Those things are absolutely where I draw the line.

    Sleeping with someone is SO intimate, I don’t know how I could do it with a stranger. Also, if sleeping in the same room is so common in certain industries, I am glad I don’t work in those industries because that weirds me out too.

    Reply
    1. The Carrie

      I think it’s even worse when its a coworker instead of say, a friend of friends I met on a weekend away or something.

      Reply
    2. Turtle Candle

      Yes! I’ll share with my partner, or with a select small group of very good friends or maybe my mother under special circumstances. A coworker? Nonononono. LW, I cannot remotely fault you for your apoplexy!

      Reply
      1. Anna

        Husband, very close friends, sisters. That’s it. No one else.

        I can’t even imagine what I would do if I went on an out-of-town trip with a coworker and found that not only would we share a room, but we would be forced to share a bed. I would lose it.

        Reply
        1. Dana

          Oh, that’s easy. Whip out my credit card, sally on down to the front desk and engage a room for myself. Then I would turn in the receipt with the very reasonable explanations given above. In no way is it reasonable to expect coworkers to share beds.

          Reply
    3. Karo

      When I was about 13, I had to share a bed with my sister (17) while we were on a family vacation. I still have a vague recollection of waking up to her asking me what the hell I was doing, and me saying “Oh, sorry, I thought you were my hair thing,” and falling back asleep.

      I think I just felt her up, but I don’t actually know and don’t have any desire to actually know because it was mortifying.

      Now I’m imagining that happening with a co-worker who has not known me since I was a baby…All of my nopes.

      Reply
      1. Vicki

        My sister and I shared a bed whenever we visited my grandmother when we were young (so, from the age of 5 to 13 for me).

        I vividly recall the night she had a bad dream and socked me in her sleep.

        Reply
    4. Raichu

      I have shared beds with strangers on school trips or band trips, but never with someone I worked with. I would not be comfortable doing that.

      Reply
  2. My dino is smarter than your dog

    Oh eff no.

    I have a history of childhood sexual trauma. I would have slept on the floor if the front desk hadn’t sent up a cot. And definitely speak to your boss afterwards. This should not happen again.

    Reply
    1. Jayn

      No trauma, but I would also be seriously eyeing the floor as an option, and have slept there in the past over sharing a bed.

      Reply
    2. mdv

      Ditto! We were booked 4 to a room on a high school trip (to an expensive hotel in downtown Chicago, totally understandable), where I slept on the floor right next to the big windows because not only was I not going to share a bed, I was used to sleeping in a MUCH cooler room than my temporary roommates. That was the LAST TIME I ever shared a room with people I did not *want* to share a room with!

      Reply
    3. K.

      No trauma in my past, but I’d do exactly as you suggest. Sharing a bed with a coworker is 100% not an option, ever, full stop, end of discussion.

      Reply
      1. Sketchee

        I would not have slept on the floor, I would have talked to the front desk and made other arrangements. Then discussed the bill with my boss. If it wasn’t taken care of, then job search to make up the difference.

        Once my phone was stolen at work by a trespasser. I left immediately replacing the phone. The next day I kindly talked to the company president and general manager about the expense. Reasonable managers will take care of it.

        Once I brought a sleeping bag to share a hotel with my friends. These were my friends however I would expect to be reasonably accommodate on a work trip. Under no circumstance would I not believe this was my choice <3

        Reply
  3. Leatherwings

    I came from one of those non-profits where it’s totally expected to share a bed – we had ten day trips where we would share a double room with three other people no questions asked. At the time, it was the norm to me and didn’t feel like a big deal. I didn’t realize how ridiculous it was until after I left. People stare at me in horror when I talk about these trips, and I don’t remember the trips or the organization well.

    I would happily share a room with someone now, but not a bed. You should feel well within your rights to push back on this kind of thing.

    Reply
      1. Leatherwings

        Yes, most of us were 23-25 and some people were 25-28.

        The thing that many people didn’t accept so willingingly was that once we had suites with a queen and a pull out couch. Imagine sharing a pull out couch with someone (usually a stranger) for ten days. Nope, they never booked that hotel again.

        Reply
      2. Sara M

        I had this problem when I was 23. I agree, it didn’t occur to me to question it. Now I wouldn’t do it.

        Reply
      3. Rob Lowe can't read

        I had to do the same thing when I worked for a non-profit in my early 20s; during more routine business travel it was the norm to be in a shared room, but during our major regional and national events we would be four to a room. Coming out of college organizations that did a ton of travel, where we’d usually sneak 6-7 into a room to cut costs, having only 3 roommates seemed like a relief, though the bathroom was a nightmare in the morning. I routinely got up 2 hours early just so I could be in and out with a minimum of fuss. In some ways, I think that being in such close quarters with other like-minded young people, on top of working 12-14 hour days, did build camaraderie. I’m still close with a lot of people I worked with then, and it’s been over seven years since I left.

        I would absolutely refuse to do anything remotely like that ever again, though.

        Reply
        1. Rob Lowe can't read

          Actually, now that I think about it, I have been asked to share a bed on business travel since then – and it was with a stranger, no less! In Peace Corps, I attended a conference (workshop) run by one of our host country partner organizations. I was the only PCV there. They said they were going to assign us rooms with other teachers from our community, but the two other teachers from my town were both dudes (I’m a woman), so clearly that wasn’t going to fly. So they put me with three other women, who all knew each other, and who did seem perfectly lovely. But sharing a bed? No thanks. I opted to stay at my friend’s house, even though it meant walking 30 minutes across town every morning and evening to get to and from the venue.

          I also had to share a room with my supervisor (and once, my supervisor and another colleague) on work trips. Once our accommodations were actually the floor of some Ministry of Education employee’s living room. (Luckily my supervisor vetoed that real fast.)

          Reply
          1. Rob Lowe can't read

            Oh gosh, I forgot the funniest part. At the first-mentioned conference, everyone was really confused about why I wasn’t taking advantage of the room at the admittedly cushy lodge where the conference was taking place. The immediate assumption on the part of my counterparts from my town was that I had a secret boyfriend in the town where the conference was happening, and that I was shacking up with him. I was like…no, I’m staying with my friend Jane. You met her. She’s the American woman who works in Dr. Blank’s office, the one who fixed the entire high school computer lab.

            They were all, yeah, sure…”Jane.”

            Reply
      4. LUCYVP

        I agree it is partially an age thing.
        In college when we traveled for Mock UN, we were scheduled four to a room.
        I usually found it mildly annoying but not inappropriate.

        Now (mid-30’s), I can’t imagine!!!

        Reply
        1. Wendy Darling

          On my high school trip to France we were booked in whatever was cheap and at one point there were six of us in a room with two double beds, a cot, and a sofa. I lucked into the sofa. It wasn’t really a big deal — in high school we’d basically sleep in a giant pile like puppies if it came down to it.

          I am also now in my mid-30s and would never do such a thing again. Equal parts because I hate it and because I snore like a water buffalo and no one should have to deal with that.

          Reply
          1. Boop

            Same here – high school trips definitely involved sharing a bed. I think that’s a bit different though because you’re still used to sleepovers and other friendly activities. Typically, bed sharing hasn’t become an intimacy/sexual thing yet.

            I’d probably still be ok with sharing a bed with a close friend now, but definitely not a co-worker! There should be some mystery in work relationships. ;)

            Reply
          2. formerteacher

            As someone who has organized a high school trip, yes there were shared beds, but the students signed up for who they wanted to stay with. It’s not just staying with any random other high schoolers, but someone that they consented to share a room and a bed with.

            Reply
      5. Honeybee

        Yeah, when I studied abroad I shared rooms/beds with some of my classmates, and I’ve definitely doubled up with people at conferences during graduate school (all under 25). But once I got to the end of grad school I didn’t even want to share a room much less a bed.

        Reply
      6. spek

        In my 20’s a group would go to vegas or Ensenada and sleep a dozen to a room, sometimes 3 or 4 in a bed…
        In my 30’s I would sometimes share a room when traveling with friends – always separate beds.
        Once I hit 40 – I can afford my own room, and do. Always a room to myself. I snore.
        Never -ever will I or would I share a room, much less a bed with a colleague…but I never worked for a non-profit, either..

        Reply
      1. Leatherwings

        Oh the organization was rife with issues, and didn’t even have a seriously enforced sexual harassment policy. Managers slept with employees, people constantly switched beds and rooms because they didn’t like that their roommates were either smoking weed or not smoking weed, or some roommate was inappropriate with their bed mate.

        We also didn’t get a per diem for meals or anything, so everyone tried to keep their own food and drinks in these cramped rooms, so they all smelled terrible.

        It was awful.

        Reply
            1. Leatherwings

              They wouldn’t OBJECT to marketing themselves that way to new grads.
              It’s not a good place to work.

              Reply
        1. jaxon

          My partner used to work for a big well-known canvassing outfit when he (and all his coworkers) was like 24 or 25. He described training trips and junkets and the like that he went on as part of this job, and there are lots of stories of bed sharing, roommates being inappropriate, weed smoking in the room, etc. I can’t help but think that this is an insane way to run any kind of organization that involves post-college people.

          Reply
            1. zora.dee

              Ha, oh yeah! I know who you are talking about now. I worked for one of those, too. But I am SO GLAD I never went on a traveling canvass now, WHEW!

              Reply
        2. Wendy Darling

          I didn’t have to share a room or a bed, but when I did fieldwork for a huge grant in grad school our original accommodations (in some dude’s house, kicking his children out of their rooms?!) fell through (when his wife found out about it… the day we arrived) so we were moved to a functionally abandoned summer camp building. We got our own bunk beds, but we had to share the building with 700 spiders.

          This experience was instrumental in my leaving academia. My advisor informed me that this was perfectly normal for fieldwork. Guess I’m never doing any more fieldwork!

          Reply
    1. many bells down

      I have also done this while working for a nonprofit. Actually, at first the hotel messed up our reservation and 4 women found themselves in a room with ONE king bed! At the time I was 6 months pregnant so I kept insisting the hotel fix it – they wanted to give us one rollaway cot to share.

      I know I was 23 or 24 at the time, but some of my co-workers were 5-10 years older.

      Reply
      1. Elle

        Rolling over/changing positions in a bed *by yourself* when you’re pregnant is difficult enough, much less with SEVERAL people in the bed! How utterly ridiculous.

        Reply
    2. Green

      I shared a bed with a colleague once under these strict circumstances: we had a limited budget for a pro bono case, that we were both working on. We could work it so we could both go on the trip if we shared a room. We got there and there was only one room. It was a little awkward, but she was one of my outside-work friends (like I have flown to visit her for her baby shower after leaving that job), so we shared a bed and it wasn’t traumatic. I would definitely not share a bed with a colleague in any other situation.

      Reply
    3. MillersSpring

      I don’t care how young/less senior the employees are or how poor the non-profit or organization is–it is simply unacceptable to ask grown adults to share a room! End of story! Some “norms” need to be abolished! What in the everloving f–k?!? Be seen this mentioned in past AAM columns, and I just shudder. Somebody needs to write a prominent editorial on this for all nonprofit EDs to read. Seriously. FFS

      Reply
      1. Artemesia

        In my younger days when we were funded only partially for professional conferences I shared rooms with colleagues — but beds never. And only this last weekend I shared a 4 bed room with friends on a weekend trip — we couldn’t get too doubles. Oddly this huge 4 double bedded room was wonderful — like a giant slumber party. But this was friends NOT co-workers.

        I was so impressed one time when I saw my boss refuse to share a room with his male business partner when we were on a consulting trip and the hotel had no extra rooms. They had booked 3 rooms for us but only had two doubles and expected the men to share the twin room. My boss said ‘under no circumstances will we be sharing rooms, you need to fix this even if you need to walk us’ (i.e. find another hotel for one or all of us) He got a room — can’t remember now whether they ‘found’ one in the hotel or walked him but he held firm. It was a lesson for me as I would have folded when they told me no room was available.

        Reply
        1. Anna

          I’m with you on sharing a room and beds with friends. I go to Seattle every year for a nerdy event and we sleep four to a room and share beds. Here’s the thing:

          1. I’m there with people I do not work with, but are my actual friends that I do actual fun things with.
          2. I’m there to “work” on the fun thing I do in my personal time. I am not being paid to spend time with these people so it’s all a choice.
          3. Under no circumstances are any of these people related to my actual paid work. (I have split a room with someone who I worked with once on a for fun thing and it was fine, but not my first choice.)

          Reply
      2. Anon 2

        It’s the number one thing I like about my boss. She will never ask anyone to share a room, she doesn’t care how broke the organization is. Her philosophy is that when you work 12-16 hours a day, the very least the organization can do is let you have 8-10 hours of personal time.

        I’ve shared a room once, when I was in academia, with a supervisor. It was horrible. I will never share a room for a work related function ever again.

        Reply
    4. M

      My for-profit company makes us share rooms. I had no idea this was not something that was normal to have to do.

      Reply
      1. Murphy

        Oh no. That’s not normal at all, especially not in the for-profit world. Hell, I work in government and I’ve never had to, nor would I ever, share a room with a colleague. Either you have enough money to send us to whatever we’re doing, or you don’t. If the cost of hotel rooms is that hard on the budget they need to seriously rethink who needs to be travelling.

        Reply
        1. Case of the Mondays

          I remember being shocked in my first job out of college that adults traveling together got separate rooms. It seemed so odd to me at the time. There’s two beds and two of you! Luckily, I clarified before making reservations for my bosses or they would have had a big surprise at check-in.

          Reply
          1. Artemesia

            Trips are hard enough — much longer than 8 hour days and then away from home so you can’t do your usual stuff from parenting to walking the dog. At the least you should have a respite of privacy and not be ‘on’ for 24 hours straight.

            Reply
            1. Artemesia

              PS as a parent of young kids, I actually relished those evenings alone in a hotel room with a book and no responsibilities for family. They were fairly rare, but sweet.

              Reply
          2. Blue Anne

            Same! In my first job I made a lot of travel arrangements, and I was definitely sitting there thinking “Why are you paying an extra hundred quid when you could get a shared room?”

            I don’t think I ever actually suggested that people share, but I definitely worried that I might be getting away with something the first few times I booked separate rooms.

            Reply
        2. Anna

          I work for a gov contractor and it’s the same for us when we travel. We get our own rooms and the ability to not deal with coworkers. For me, that’s an investment in your employees. :)

          Reply
      2. Ann Cognito

        I’ve worked for two non-profits over the years and at both they covered a room for each person while traveling for conferences etc. Every private sector employer I’ve worked for has been the same, thank goodness!

        Reply
      3. Alienor

        Mine does too. If it’s a big event, everyone shares unless they’re above a certain executive level. If it’s a smaller business trip with a few people, it depends on the gender breakdown–a man and a woman traveling together get separate rooms, but two men, two women etc. would have to share.

        Reply
        1. RVA Cat

          Couldn’t that cause concerns about discrimination – picking one gender or the other to hire for a travelling position for budgetary reasons? Also, what do they do if someone is LGBT?

          Reply
            1. Basiorana

              This is an issue at my company. There is no question of concealing LGBT status if you are a junior employee on the field team. They’re the ones with private rooms.

              I am petrified that they will ask me someday to share a room and will deny me because I’m married to a man, even though I’m bi.

              Reply
          1. Girasol

            We had that happen at a conference where people shared cabins. Four fellows shared a cabin with two bedrooms with two beds each and a sort of a living room between. There was an uproar when one of them discovered that his roommate was gay and none of the others would swap places and share a room with him. The gay guy solved the matter by offering very graciously to sleep on the couch. That everyone accepted that solution and let him sleep on the couch seems kind of appalling now but we were rather foolish about such things back then.

            Reply
          2. ThursdaysGeek

            When I had to share a room with my boss, working for a city government, I found out later that she was lesbian. And really, it didn’t matter. We were just co-workers.

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          3. Honeybee

            I always wonder this myself. I’m queer, and I’m out at work, but I don’t really want to share a bed with anybody.

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            1. Honeybee

              And not for sexual reasons or anything, just…I don’t want people to be like “well you can because you’re both women” and I have to be like “so what makes you make that assumption?”

              I also wouldn’t really like to share a room, but I would go along with it, and gender doesn’t really matter to me that much in that case. I’ve shared rooms before with people of different genders. For me, it’s functionally the same as sharing with someone the same gender as me.

              Reply
      4. pnw

        I work for a mid-size non-profit and although I don’t travel regularly for my job,the 5-6 times I have had to travel I have had my own room. I would either refuse to travel or at the very least, pay for my own room before I would share with a co-worker.

        Reply
        1. Anna

          I do know someone who works for a smallish design firm and when they travel they do share rooms. She and I were both shocked the first time she made travel arrangements and found out about that. However, she’s worked it out so that when she’s traveling she will get a Resident Inn room or something with a bit more space and privacy.

          Reply
        2. Koko

          I’m at a large nonprofit and our travel policy if multiple people are going to one location is everyone can book their own room. But, we also have an all-staff retreat once a year, and there just simply aren’t any suitable hotels that are reasonably close to our most populous offices (to keep travel costs low by not having to fly most of the staff anywhere) that have enough rooms for everyone on staff to get their own room, so depending on the size of the hotel in a given year some of us always have to share rooms, with any single rooms awarded according to years of service. You can choose your roommate and about 9/10 rooms are two people who chose a close work friend to room with. If you don’t choose they match you with someone of the same sex randomly. The person I room with every year is one of my best friends and someone I have actually traveled with for pleasure outside of work, so I don’t personally mind, but I know it’s uncomfortable for the 10% of people who don’t have a close work friend.

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          1. Will L.

            I used to work for a large West Coast nonprofit in a small, satellite office on the East Coast. When we used to travel for trips/conferences, we would always be forced to share rooms, unless the trip was in D.C. Our manager really pushed back at the idea of any of us sharing hotel rooms when we were in D.C. for some odd reason, so we would have very nice rooms alone there. But he didn’t have this same issue when we went to Atlanta or L.A. and we’d be right back to sharing rooms. Good thing we all generally got along and typically had our go-to buddy to room with when we were away.

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      5. Turtle Candle

        Same. Never beds, but rooms yes, and we’re definitely not nonprofit. It’s honestly something of a relief to hear that it’s not the norm!

        Reply
      6. Mreasy

        Yeah, noping this one hard. I’m a woman who has had to share a room with an opposite-sex coworker & was only mildly annoyed, but sharing a bed with anyone who is not my BFF, intimate partner, or mom/sister? OMG NO NEVER.

        Reply
      7. Christopher Tracy

        My for-profit company makes us share rooms. I had no idea this was not something that was normal to have to do.

        If this was normal, I would never travel for work. Hells no I’m not sharing a room when I’m trying to relax after a hard day. Nope.

        Reply
        1. One of the Sarahs

          Same – especially because I snore… but I have recurring nightmares about waking up next to someone I don’t know (sleep paralysis, I’m told) and sharing a bed would have me sleeping on the floor/in the bath instantly.

          Reply
        2. (Another) B

          I’ve always had my own room. I absolutely would not share.

          Even when I traveled for work with a coworker who became one of my closest friends, we debated sharing by choice – and then we were like nope, we’re gonna do separate bc it’s nice to get some alone time. Especially when you are “on” for 14 hours straight. And me and her have shared a room, and bed, socially at hotels/parties before! But work is just another story. Never OK.

          Reply
      8. Lady Blerd

        I work for the Canadian government and we don’t share rooms, something that surprises me especially in the department I work for although that happened on one trip. Sharing beds horrifies me but I do have colleagues who are close friends with whom I’d be willing to do so. But not all of them. Just no!

        Reply
        1. Blurgle

          It sometimes happens in the North because in the smaller communities all “hotel” accommodation is shared-room. Unless you are the Queen you don’t get a room to yourself, and better someone you know than Jane or Joe Random in to report on the big murder trial.

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    5. zora.dee

      Ok, yes, I did this, too, but NEVER for a job I was actually getting paid for. It was when I was doing volunteer activities with nonprofits, and groups of friends/acquaintances were booking rooms to share, and we were voluntarily sharing beds with the group of our choosing.

      Even in the most shoestring-budget nonprofits, as an early-20-something, if I was on a trip for an actual job I was getting paid for, there is no way I would have shared a bed. and 10 days!!! Wow. I applaud you, Leatherwings.

      Reply
  4. Bibliovore

    Sharing rooms. For years as a young librarian, I had shared a room with three people. Two full beds and a roll out cot. Otherwise we could not afford to go to the conference. I can and do look forward to sharing a room with a colleague who I have roomed with for over 15 years. We know how to stay out of each other’s way and give personal space.
    Recently, I went to an academic conference and roomed with someone I didn’t know very well and was my senior. It was a disaster. I may have to do it again next year but not after that.
    That said- no, I will not even if I have to go to another hotel share a bed. That IS unreasonable.

    Reply
    1. Amy G. Golly

      I ended up sharing a bed at a library conference this year! But I did it to myself. :P Someone I worked with on committee put out a call for a roommate, and I took her up on it. Then another librarian joined. Then another.

      I don’t know how we thought we were going to work one room with four people, but somehow I was pretty sure bed sharing would not be necessary right up until I saw the four of us standing in the room with two beds.

      Good news? We all got on like a house on fire, and I really enjoyed getting to know my roomies and going to panels and meals with them. Bad news? My bedmate was a very loud snorer, and a very…athletic sleeper!

      Reply
      1. BUT HOW

        How. In all seriousness…how. How can an adult not realize that if there are 4 people and 2 beds, people will be sharing a bed. Did you not know 4 people were going to be in the room? Did you not know the room has 2 beds? HOW HOW HOW HOW HOW. I know this probably sounds like I am making fun, but I feel like I encounter people that think (or don’t think) like you fairly often in life and I just cannot for the life of me understand .

        Reply
        1. Artemesia

          LOL I just had a room with 4 double beds this weekend shared with 3 women; the other 3 in our group has a room with 3 double beds.

          Reply
          1. BUT HOW

            Are these suites? Hostels? Is there some part of the world where this is a thing? I travel quite a bit for work and this is not even an option I have ever encountered outside of a suite like set up.

            Reply
        2. Amy G. Golly

          I thought, since the rooming situation was posed as a “quad”, that there would be four beds.

          Reply
          1. BUT HOW

            Welp. I guess if you were unfamiliar with travel/standard hotels I could see how this would be misleading. I understand how now.

            Reply
    2. SophieChotek

      I’ve room a lot with colleagues/friends/people-I-sort-of-know at academic conferences, but for me, it’s always been roommates of the same gender (I understand some people would not be bothered by the mixed genders thing), and also we’ve always all had our own beds. We’ve gotten cots/rollaways; I think one conference I did share a King-sized bed with another person, but that was it.

      What was described above in original letter or by Leatherwings…no…I don’t think I could. (But I guess of organization wasn’t willing to pay, I’d suck it up, because I wouldn’t want to pay either.)

      Reply
    3. SunnyLibrarian

      Yeah, I have done this at conferences. It didn’t bother me that much, but I realize this isn’t always the case.

      I was more bothered by my roomies leaving leftovers unrefrigerated and “letting it mellow” in the toilet.

      Reply
    4. Joa

      I think that sharing rooms is pretty common in the library world (or at least the public library world.) For a lot of conferences, the cost of lodging is by far the biggest expense. I’m the director of a small library system and most of my staff want to go to conferences whenever they can. By sharing rooms, I can typically afford to send twice as many. That said, I don’t love it, and we’ve begun to use airbnb type rentals a lot. Much more space and privacy and typically a lot less expensive than conference hotels.

      Reply
    5. EmilyG

      I am also a librarian and one of my best librarian friends was originally a listserv “hey, can anyone share a room with me to save money” contact. And a friend in my current town was *her* main conference hotel sharing person whom she introduced me to.

      But that was when I was a lot younger and it was the only way I got to go to conferences. I file it under “things that I did when I was younger without thinking too much of them but now see not having to do as one of the best things about middle age.”

      Reply
    6. BarefootLibrarian

      I’m a librarian too (hence the username ;) ) and I know what you mean about travel funds in academia. We’ve got a certain amount budgeted for each librarian for all of their travel needs and you have to get creative at a certain point, especially if you are presenting at multiple conferences. I’ve built a network of librarians whom I don’t mind sharing a room with (but never a bed!) over the last few years. I’m going to a conference in October and have already started reaching out to a few that I get along with smashingly to see if they want to share a room to stretch our travel bucks a bit. That being said, I’ve gotten bolder about talking to the Dean’s office to ask for a bit more funding when things are stretched a bit too far or there are good opportunities that I might miss for lack of a few hundred bucks. Sometimes they say yes!

      Reply
      1. irritable vowel

        Another librarian here. I *hate* that this is such an expected part of conference travel in our industry. On numerous occasions I’ve been asked if I want to share a room and I always feel like a jerk saying no. (I would rather pay the necessary expense to stay solo out of my own pocket, not that it’s required where I work.) I feel like I have to come up with an excuse, like “actually my husband’s coming with me,” to get out of it politely. There needs to be some kind of industry-wide expectation created that all roommate solicitation for conference travel should be done in a mutually consensual way, like on an online bulletin board.

        Reply
        1. BarefootLibrarian

          I like the idea of an online bulletin board for conference roommates since so many librarian’s are expected to share a room anyway. It would be great for the very extroverted, but I think I’d still end up either paying for the other half of my room or finding a roommate that I already know.

          Reply
      2. Honeybee

        Oh yeah, I remember that in academia. I’ve definitely done the 4 grad students to a room thing, and one time there were like 5 or 6 of us in a room (people on cots and on the floor) just crashing for one night so they could present for a day. Conference travel budgets were always pretty laughable – ironically as a first and second year grad student my budget was pretty good, but after that my budget didn’t even cover one full conference that involved airfare.

        Reply
    7. Seal

      Also an academic librarian, but one who got into the profession in my 40s. In my misspent youth (well into my early 30s) I was involved in a variety of performing arts activities that required travel. Back in the day we all – men and women – shared rooms and beds or even gym floors and showers. We were all young and poor and very much into suffering for our art. These days? For that past decade I’ve attended 4-6 conferences a year that require travel and have never once shared a room with anyone. I just won’t do it, even if it means paying for my own hotel room. The only time I’d consider it is under extreme duress or in an emergency, such as getting stranded due to inclement weather, and even then only after exhausting other options. Sometimes riding in a car or van with colleagues for any length of time is too much – can’t imagine sharing a room, let alone a bed, with any of them.

      Reply
      1. BarefootLibrarian

        As much as I’d like to take a hard stance on the no-room-sharing, it’s hard. I’m tenure track and presenting is just expected. I might find myself out of a job when it comes time for my tenure review if I haven’t sufficiently represented myself in the professional arena. I find myself either paying the other half of my room or staying with a friend most of the time. I would be extremely uncomfortable staying with someone I didn’t know fairly well.

        Reply
    8. Another Academic Librarian

      Another librarian here, and room-sharing is definitely the norm. It never even occurred to me that it would sound strange to people in other fields!

      Reply
    9. Library Director

      Yes, it’s been expected that library staff share rooms at conferences. At a neighboring system I was horrified to hear that the “norm” was to put 4 people in a two bed room.

      At a big national conference and we and another group all made a block reservation at a hotel (we were sharing transportation). We arrived at the hotel to find they had overbooked with another meeting. For the first night they brought in roll aways or we had to share beds. The next night they moved everyone to different rooms.

      Actually, that night my roommate and were moved. Our room was too small for a roll away bed. I had my friend call down to the desk to ask for an upgrade. I was calling the national customer service line on my cell. The front desk person laughed at my friend and the customer service representative heard it. The next thing we knew we were in a suite with two beds.

      Reply
      1. BarefootLibrarian

        Good for you! Sometimes it pays not to take no for an answer. I can’t believe the front desk person laughed though. How unprofessional!

        Reply
  5. AMG

    I know I am quick to jump ship but I would start looking for another job. No common sense. What the Hell.

    Reply
    1. Pineapple Incident

      It’s not quick to jump ship if the ship is going to sink because your coworker/boss punches your boob in their sleep. I’d be out the door as soon as I could find something else.

      Reply
      1. (Another) B

        Right? I would be so worried I would think, in my sleep, that my coworker was my husband and try to spoon them!!!

        Reply
  6. I'm Not Phyllis

    No. Just … no. I’m hoping this was an accident or oversight, but it’s definitely worth bringing up with your manager just in case. I remember one case from an old job where a supervisor was being asked to share the room with an employee she supervises. She brought up the point that it would jeopardize their supervisory relationship if they were required to share a room because in doing so they’d also be required to x (share sleeping habits, bathroom habits, etc.) so that may be worth raising as well. But a simple “I’m not comfortable with doing that again” should suffice.

    I’m from an NFP as well, where we’re required to share rooms on business trips. If you want your own room, you just have to pay the difference. I understand this might not be an option for some, but if it is an option for you it’s 100% worth the money!

    Reply
    1. RVA Cat

      Sharing X could also mean learning things that may be subject to ADA like medications, etc. For example Mr. RVA Cat has sleep apnea and uses a CPAP.

      Reply
  7. Sami

    My stomach is literally churning.
    I’m a teacher and early in my career I went to a few (two or three) conferences where I shared a room. Only a room. And with people I liked. And the. I got to a point where I will gladly pay for the difference to have my own room.
    I just don’t see how anyone thinks it’s okay to share a bed with a coworker or boss.

    Reply
  8. Allison

    I also understand that for some smaller companies, like startups and nonprofits where there just isn’t money for each traveling employee to get their own room, doubling up happens. But it should be a last resort, pun only kind of intended. You make children share beds on family trips and at sleepovers, but adults generally don’t feel comfortable sharing beds with people they’re not romantically/sexually involved with, even sharing beds with friends can be uncomfortable, so companies should do everything in their power to avoid making people do this on trips.

    Reply
    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      I’d go further than that and say it’s not acceptable, period. If you don’t have the funds to give everyone their own bed, you don’t have the funds for the trip.

      Reply
      1. Joseph

        Exactly. The cost difference between a room with two twin/full beds versus one queen bed is always negligible – like $10 per night or less.

        If your budget is so tight that the extra $10 for getting each employee their own bed is going to make or break your budget, you should really be examining other alternatives like a cheaper hotel, attending remotely or, not sending two people on the trip in the first place.

        Reply
      2. Murphy

        Exactly what I was saying above, although I’d go further in suggesting that if you don’t have funds for each person to have their own room you don’t have funds for a trip, but I realize that’s not always the case (but I would 100% refuse to go on a business trip where I had to share a room and luckily I think I have the pull to make that case if it ever came to that).

        Reply
      3. Narise

        I had a conversation once with my boss about sharing rooms.
        “The trip to Houston will require everyone to share rooms.”
        “I’m the only female going so that’s not an option.”
        “It’s a requirement of everyone going.”
        “Then I won’t be going.”
        “It’s mandatory.”
        “I can’t share a room with a coworker.”
        “The trip to Houston will require everyone to share rooms.”
        This conversation wasn’t repeated three times before I walked away. It was finally a non issues when one of my male coworkers who was going on the trip told the director that my husband was looking for him. It wasn’t true but he finally backed off. He really didn’t get it.

        Reply
            1. BarefootLibrarian

              No kidding! Basically he was sending the message that your discomfort with the situation was less valid than your husband’s theoretical discomfort. That’s the work equivalent of not taking no for an answer when asked for a date until you mention your boyfriend. It makes me seethe for you.

              Reply
              1. Jadelyn

                How…how does this even happen? How does someone, even a male, end up so UTTERLY F-ING CLUELESS that he sees nothing wrong with making it mandatory for a woman to share a room with a male coworker? And then to only back down when another male confronted him with some alpha-male-posturing BS, like THAT was the key to getting him to back off, I just. HOW???

                Reply
                1. Narise

                  It wasn’t so much my husbands discomfort as it was his fear of being beat up. He backed down on different occasions with others because he thought it might become physical.

                  He was clueless. He overheard a joke once that the sales teams were promising sex for on time delivery of materials. He pulled them all in for a meeting because he thought it was true.

        1. MoinMoin

          Ugh, that irritates me so much. Your discomfort, meh, but your husband is uncomfortable so now it’s important. Makes me think of the type of people that try to pick you up and won’t take no for an answer until you say you have a boyfriend.

          Reply
    2. sam

      I certainly shared a bed with friends when we were younger, but even that is something that I’d hesitate to do now. Colleagues? I’d pay for my own hotel room before that happened. But then again, I work in a field where it’s generally expected that everyone gets their own room.

      The last time I had to “inadvertently” share a bed with someone, my brother and I traveled across India together – when booking the trip through a specialty travel agent, I made sure to reiterate about 1,000 times that we were brother and sister and absolutely NEEDED separate beds everywhere we went. there was at least one hotel that completely disregarded this and assumed we were a married couple.

      Every spare pillow at that hotel was put into service creating a giant, game-of-thrones-level wall down the middle of the king sized bed in our room.

      (aside from ALL of the other issues with this situation, my “little” brother is actually 6’3″ and ALL LIMBS – he takes up more space that you can possibly imagine).

      Reply
      1. Amber T

        Agreed. Some of my best sleep over memories were when we shoved three or four mattresses in the middle of my friend’s living room (why did her family have all those mattresses, I now wonder…) and like, 10 of us would all share and practically sleep on top of each other. 12 year old me found this extremely fun. 26 year old me would NOT enjoy this in the slightest. Sharing a bed with a romantic partner bugs me half the time. Hell, my CATS irk me in the middle of the night (granted, I’ve yet to share a bed with any human who thinks it’s appropriate to spread out sideways directly in the center of the bed, and my cats are much cuter than any previous boyfriend, so they get away with it).

        Reply
      2. Gene

        Last time I took a road trip with my mother, let’s see, I was 57 and she 77, a desk clerk asked if we needed two beds.

        The look on Mom’s face was priceless!

        Reply
      3. Aella

        My father and I regularly go away together. We used to share rooms, and once rolled up at 23:00 to discover that there was one bed and it took up most of the room.

        He slept on some tables in the bar.

        Reply
      4. Annie Moose

        Haha, that’s my sister and I if we have to share a bed! Those hotels that have a dozen pillows or so are the best, especially because I always bring my own pillow when I travel so we have an extra.

        Reply
    3. The Carrie

      AT my dad’s company they would share a room. He would refuse and booked his own room at a much cheaper hotel down the road and they were fine with it. It was like a super 8 vs Marriott. So he ended up actually saving the company money. He just knew he didn’t want to share a room. He was 55 years old for gosh sakes!

      Reply
      1. Sketchee

        A lot of the ages mentioned seem odd to me. If they’re old enough to work and travel, then it seems reasonable to give separate rooms.

        The idea that giving up complete personal privacy and time completely for a company’s budget seems very odd to me. Seems like this crosses in the realm of not being a work problem for me and wouldn’t be part of my job.

        Reply
    4. Alienor

      Ugh noooooo. I have a few long-term colleagues I wouldn’t mind sharing a room with, but a bed? Absolutely not. My teenage daughter has been on a couple of school trips where it was four to a room and everyone shared a bed, and even that seemed kind of skeevy to me (she didn’t love it either, but at least she was with friends and not randomly assigned roommates).

      Reply
    5. Observer

      I’m with Allison. If you don’t have the money to give each person their own bed, you don’t have enough money to send the number of people you want to say. IF you really do need to send them, then you really need to give hem each their bed. Beginning and end of story.

      Reply
  9. Lia

    In my prior career, sharing hotel rooms was the norm — and we’d often get to the conference or meeting and then find out who our roommate was. That said, we were in our rooms to sleep, basically, because we had events, classes, or sessions from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. (breaks for meals, of course) — these conferences were the only time the whole company was together because we were all remote employees.

    HOWEVER. That was almost 20 years ago, and we absolutely never had to share beds. OMG.

    Reply
  10. Aurion

    Alison: I thought that bringing in another cot would be frowned upon? Usually the only place to put another bed-like piece of furniture would be in the walkway, and blocking the walkway is a fire hazard?

    All that said, noooooooooope. I have never shared beds well with anyone; it took me years to get used to sharing a bed with a previous SO (and by “getting used to” I mean “get any sleep whatsoever”, not that I slept particularly well). Another foreign presence in my bed means I don’t get a wink of sleep and that is a flat out no for a business trip when I would, presumably, have to be awake and on for the next day. And yeah, I do not want to share that much space with a coworker. Nope.

    Sharing a room is an unwelcome but perhaps inevitable prospect depending on industry. But no one should be asking you to share a bed. Nope, nope, NOPE.

    Reply
    1. Aurion

      I will share beds with my family members if I’m on vacation, but that usually means I don’t sleep well either and I end up napping in the car.

      Ugh, I hate sharing beds. And coworkers do not make the very short list of people I’d be willing to do that with.

      Reply
      1. BarefootLibrarian

        Heck, I don’t even stay at my family’s house on visits. Most of the time I book a hotel! I greatly value my alone time.

        Reply
    2. Ask a Manager Post author

      I think most hotels (at least in the U.S.) will bring up a cot if you request it and there’s usually room for it. That said, traveling outside the U.S. I have stayed in some very tiny rooms so I could see how that might not be the case there.

      Reply
      1. Michelenyc

        Yes they will. When I travelled for one of my preivous jobs. 3 of us shared a room and we requested a cot/extra bed for the room. There was a slight charge and they set it up for us. They moved some of the other furniture around (table, chairs, desk). The bed in no way blocked the door.

        Reply
      2. Doodle

        At most chains in the US, they will put a cot in a king room, but not in a double room (two double or queen beds). So, in the circumstance that the OP faced (3 people in a room with two beds), a cot request was likely to be refused for fire code reasons.

        Reply
        1. STX

          I’ve never, ever had a problem getting a cot in a double room to accommodate a third person. Fire codes vary by state but usually specify a minimum number of square feet per person (ie, occupancy rate). Some hotel rooms would be too small to have 5 people in a double room, but if they’re already allowing 3 or 4 then adding a cot doesn’t change things.

          Now, hotels can and will use the fire code as an excuse to do something they don’t want to do.

          Reply
      3. irritable vowel

        The fact that the OP didn’t mention a cot not being available made me wonder whether no one assigned to the room knew to ask about one.

        Reply
      4. OP

        Thank you for mentioning this, Alison and everyone. I wish, oh how I wish it had occurred to me to ask for a cot! Between it never being something I’ve asked for, and perhaps my brain blanking out on everything but shock, I didn’t even think of it as an option. Neither did it apparently occur to my colleagues, though. I’ll keep this in the back of my mind for any future non-work episodes of surprise bed sharing. (In the future, there shall not ever again be another work episode of this happening.)

        Reply
      5. Another Academic Librarian

        I have noticed recently that newer hotels will not let you put cots in double (two queen beds) rooms because of fire code restrictions. Sometimes, though, they can move you to a disabled room with two queens; I assume that since those rooms are required to have enough space to accomodate a wheelchair, they can also accomodate a cot.

        Reply
    3. BRR

      I’m not sure if you read it as the employees bring their own cots but hotels frequently have cots available. That’s what we used to do growing up.

      Reply
      1. Aurion

        I read it as hotels supplying the cots, but the majority of hotel rooms I’ve been in were two double (or queen) beds to a room, and the only place to put an additional cot would be in the walkway (since they usually had an armchair and a dresser and a table already in the room, all of which takes up space). I had imagined blocking the walkway with a cot would be a fire hazard.

        Reply
        1. EmmaLou

          Fire marshal wouldn’t let you have cots in the rooms (therefore hotels couldn’t supply them) if it were a great fire danger. The arm chairs can be moved, but the cots often fit against wall in my experience. The cots aren’t extremely comfortable, but they are a lot more comfortable than sharing with a co-worker. (I can’t imagine … well, I can, which is why I’m thinking… sign me up for the cot!)

          Reply
          1. Aurion

            I always assumed that cots would only be allowed in single-bed rooms, actually. But I’m glad to be wrong here.

            Reply
        1. Michelenyc

          Yes they do. It’s usually not that much. The times I did it was an actual fold up bed not a cot. Thankfully I no longer have to share a room with anyone when I travel for work!

          Reply
        2. BRR

          I believe they do but I’m imagining a conference where it’s sold out or some other snafu where a cot is necessary to avoid coworkers sharing a bed.

          Reply
  11. Snarkus Aurelius

    Fun fact: when a cat sleeps with you, it’s the most intimate, trusting act a cat can ever demonstrate to another animal/person.  Why?  Because sleeping is an private act where you’re unconscious and that makes you vulnerable!!!!

    Seriously, I can’t believe your coworker expected you to come up with a concrete reason as to explain why this was weird for you.  Similar to yesterday’s intern letter, a question like that assumes this is a matter up for debate and negotiation.  This is your personal, private space so it very much is not.

    Why is it a problem, s/he asks?  Because it makes me uncomfortable, you say.  That’s it.

    Of course management didn’t say anything.  Why would they?  This is a cost-saving measure that only benefits them.  Don’t count on them coming to you about it.  You need to raise the issue the way AAM suggested.

    If it makes you feel better, this happened to me only once during my first internship where the boss was a notorious cheapskate except for herself.  We had a conference at a hotel so our organization got one free room for every X number of rooms booked for conference attendees.  Well there were not enough rooms for staff so seven of us packed into one large room.  The hotel didn’t have enough cots so, yep, we ended up sharing beds and one person was on the couch.  (Boss, on the other hand, was the only person who didn’t share a room.)

    Reply
    1. Jaydee + Cat

      So the fact that my cat sleeps on my pillow, curled around my head, means he trusts me? That makes the chronic neck discomfort, pulled hair, and occasional face scratches worth it.

      Reply
      1. Amber T

        Cat love is soooooo much better than human love.

        ~ Crazy cat lady already looking forward to spending the rest of her life alone with just her cats

        Reply
        1. TychaBrahe

          Speaking of cats, I always love the first day of travel, because I can keep the lid of the toilet up since there’s no worry of cats going paddling.

          But by the second day I miss them and want to go home.

          Reply
      2. Perse's Mom

        Perse paws at my face until I raise the corner of the blanket so she can come under and snuggle. I’ve just learned not to roll over.

        Reply
      3. neverjaunty

        Or, as in the case with at least one of my cats, he thinks you’re so far beneath him as an organism that you couldn’t possibly be a threat.

        Reply
    2. sam

      What does it say if your cat curls up next to you only at “wake up” time, and then hisses at you mercilessly when you try to get out of bed?

      Reply
    3. Kate M

      If the coworker was really young, I could see them not understanding why it’s weird yet. If you’re coming from experiences where just a couple of years ago you were having sleepovers with friends, or had friends crash with you in tiny dorm rooms, or had high school/college field trips where you shared beds with others, then it’s easy to just never think about the idea that, hey, as an adult, it’s kind of weird to share a bed with someone you work with.

      Reply
      1. Snarkus Aurelius

        This is exactly what I did the following year when I got my first real job. When my organization had a major conference and I was traveling for the first time in that job, I asked the VP of events/meetings if we could pick co-workers to room with because I wanted to be with my friends. She looked at me like I had five heads. She told me that’s not something we’d ever do and however much staff is needed, which she determined, was however many rooms we’d purchase for however long is needed. She chuckled and said staff rooms were usually the cheapest expense anyway so it was pointless to cost cut there.

        After realizing how much that internship screwed me up, I never asked that question again!!

        Reply
      2. Stranger than fiction

        Shoot, even when I was young and did all those things, I couldn’t wait til I could go home and get some “real” sleep.

        Reply
    4. KR

      I would be fully willing to bring my cat with me to business travel and share a bed with them. A co-worker? No thank you.

      Reply
      1. Amber T

        To be fair, if my coworker brought a cat with them on a business trip, I would actually like to volunteer to share a room.

        Reply
      2. BizzieLizzie

        I’l love to bring my 3 cats along – but 2 of the cats would object to room sharing with cat no. 3 :)

        Reply
    5. MashaKasha

      Wow, the cat fact made my day. My ex’s cat slept with me every night I was over at his place; totally ignoring the ex, who actually owned and fed the cat. I had not realized that this was a big deal! I’m flattered. That cat would also lie down next to me and roll over, asking for belly rubs, then change his mind and scratch the hell out of my hands for giving him said belly rubs.

      Now my son’s cats are living with me and they refuse to sleep in my bed, but love the belly rubs. Cats are weird. I had a dog before, and am new to this whole cat situation.

      As for sharing a bed with human coworkers, I’d be miserable if I had to do it, egads! I once shared a hotel room (two twin beds) with a casual friend when we were in college, and out of town for a mutual friend’s wedding. On our last night there, she brought a guy into our room. He was falling drunk, and immediately crawled into her bed and passed out, saving me from having to watch them. She then unexpectedly decided that she did not want to share her bed with him (girl, you brought him to your hotel room, wth did you expect?…) crawled into my bed and fell asleep. I did not get any sleep that night. I tried sleeping on the floor, on the desk, in a chair, no luck. In no way was I able to share a twin bed with another woman to whom I was not romantically attracted; even when I was 20 and a college student. No way in hell would I be able to do so now!!! OP has all of my sympathy.

      Reply
      1. Anna No Mouse

        Here’s another fun cat fact: When a cat rolls over to show you their (very tempting and fluffy belly), it is not necessarily an invitation for a belly rub. It’s another sign of trust, but it often means, “You are permitted to keep petting my head, thank you very much.”

        Reply
        1. ThursdaysGeek

          Not “pick me up, hold me so I’m still on my back, and rub your face in my belly”? Sorry, I keep hearing those directions when I see that fuzzy tummy. Usually I’m successful in putting her down again without bunny kicks to my head.

          Reply
    6. Rebecca in Dallas

      Aww, that makes me happy that one of my cats sleeps with me! Actually, he stopped doing that when we got our dog a few months ago (dog’s crate is in our room) and just now started up again. <3 Guess that means he's starting to trust the dog, too.

      This is embarrassing, but I'm a snuggler. My husband and I definitely snuggle/spoon when we sleep and I just have this fear that if I had to share a bed with someone, that I would snuggle them in my sleep! How awkward would it be to wake up to that?! When I travel with friends, I will share a room but not a bed. I've actually shared a bed with my mom as an adult, but it was a king size bed and she watched tv in the living area (we had a suite) until pretty late, so I was long asleep by the time she got in bed.

      Reply
      1. OP

        I just have this fear that if I had to share a bed with someone, that I would snuggle them in my sleep!

        Exactly! Co-worker and I slept on the opposite edges of the (king-sized) bed. I’m not sure how we didn’t end up falling off, but that would have been far preferable to accidentally cuddling them.

        It’s been a little while now since the episode I wrote in about, so it’s easier to bring this up with Boss, but I really appreciate hearing everyone’s comments–it just adds to the reasons I can give if/when “I’m not comfortable with it” end up not being reason enough.

        Reply
  12. AnotherAlison

    I wonder if there are generational or cultural differences as to why a few rare people don’t blink an eye at this? I was spoiled and had my own room and bathroom as a kid, but my dad shared beds with his brothers. He did always try to jam as many people into as few rooms as possible on vacations.. .hmmm.

    Reply
    1. Green

      I had siblings and shared rooms growing up, and still share rooms with my brother and sister on vacations sometimes when we’re going somewhere. I share beds with my professional school girlfriends for our reunion weekends no problem. But I would not even share a room with a colleague at this stage in my career.

      Reply
    2. Allison

      But there’s a huge difference between family members sharing beds and coworkers sharing beds! I share a bed with my sister every Christmas, and when we were little my family would cram a bunch of kids in a room with an air mattress; it’s never been ideal, but with family it’s not awkward. But when I share rooms with friends for dance events, you better believe we don’t share beds unless it’s absolutely necessary! How my ex managed to share a bed with two women last year I . . . don’t wanna know . . . we’d broken up by then, mostly because of his plan to share a bed with two women . . .

      Reply
      1. AnotherAlison

        Oh absolutely! I probably wouldn’t want to share a bed with a my sister or a parent at this point, never mind a coworker. Just wondering if you never had much privacy (not even your own bed!) if you are a little less sensitive to it than if you always had tons of privacy. (My dad also became a truck driver, where you literally take turns sleeping in the same bed as the other driver if you run together. Not at the same time, but in the other person’s funk. Maybe it was that, not the brothers.)

        Reply
    3. BRR

      My in laws are like this. They will sleep far more people than I think is comfortable whenever they travel or will drive home when they’re a couple of hours away instead of spending the night.

      Reply
      1. Stephanie

        Yeah, that’s my dad’s family. They’ll sleep on couches, floors, etc like it’s nothing. My mom usually shuts it down.

        Reply
        1. AnotherAlison

          Lol. My son graduated high school this spring. My in-laws all wanted to travel half way across the country for the occasion, and when my husband said there was no room in the house, they said they would sleep in tents in the yard. My husband said you get a hotel or don’t come. They got a hotel. (They also drove 28 hrs nonstop to avoid getting a hotel on the way.)

          Reply
        2. the gold digger

          My husband’s half brother, Ted (the one who is trying to drain his own mentally-disabled son’s trust to pay for Ted’s home remodeling, his IRA, and his family trip to Europe), invited himself to our wedding and suggested that he stay at our house.

          My mom and Primo’s parents were already staying with us (DO NOT DO THIS!) and we didn’t have room.

          Ted cheerfully volunteered that he could sleep on the living room floor.

          Um no. I don’t even like him – I sure didn’t need him crowding into a house that was already full of people I didn’t like. (Sly and Doris – not my mom. I like my mom – everyone likes my mom. She is nice.)

          Reply
          1. OfficePrincess

            My in-laws had family stay with them for our wedding. The rest of us thought it was a bad idea, but they kept saying it would be fine (well more like my MIL said it was fine and my FIL learned long ago that was not the battle to pick). Well hey, guess what. It ended up being crazy and chaotic. The visiting family was annoyed that there were so many people coming in and out and it was just too much for their kids to handle. My husband slept on the couch the night before we got married because the alternative was sharing a twin bed with his grandmother or being person #3 in a double. My in-laws were late for both our rehearsal and wedding.

            Reply
            1. Anonononononomoussss

              We are a big everyone-stay-with-us-we-will-find-room-at-least-on-the-floor family. We had probably 20 people staying at my parents house for our wedding (and we had the rehearsal dinner at least at home) and it was excellent. (Although I was spoiled and got my own room because I was getting married and no one else got one.) But we do things like that all the time. At Christmas, there are at least 10 extra people sleeping at my grandparents every year.

              Reply
    4. Kelly L.

      We shared beds as kids–but we were kid-sized! And siblings (therefore we knew each other well, and as we are not Lannisters, no sexual element). And I remember sharing beds a few times on high school trips with other girls from the group. It didn’t bother me then, but I sure wouldn’t want to do it now with random other adults from my work. Because (a) I don’t want to share a bed unless I know the person really well (partner, sister, BFF, mom, that’s about it), and (b) we are the size of adults now and take up more room in a bed than little kids.

      Reply
      1. neverjaunty

        “As we are not Lannisters….” is a prelude phrase that does not get nearly enough use, if you ask me.

        Reply
      2. I'm Not Phyllis

        I had to share beds with cousins, siblings, etc. when I was a kid too. To be honest I remember not liking it much then either – but I didn’t have much choice. Now that I’m adult-ish it’s a big fat no.

        Reply
      3. Mymla

        Sometimes my parents and our neighbours would go on short trips together. They would always put all the children (2 girls and 3 boys) in one double bed. We were all still in elementary school, so nobody batted an eye. A few years later (we were 10 at most) that was suddenly no longer okay.

        Reply
    5. Chinook

      “I wonder if there are generational or cultural differences as to why a few rare people don’t blink an eye at this?”

      There is definitely generational differences. My grandmother talked about sharing a bed with a complete stranger when she moved to the city. They were roommates and there was just the one bed. But, since my grandmother grew up sharing a bed with 2 sisters, for her this was an upgrade to more space.

      But, decades later, she would tell us this story in awe of herself (and poking fun at her rural, hick ways) because there is no way she would stand for that now for either her or her children or grandchildren.

      Reply
    6. K.

      My grandmother and her three sisters all shared a bedroom, two to a bed. (There were two boys too and they shared a room; the girls were jealous because they got beds to themselves.) She was actually more respectful of personal space as an adult as a result of this, I think!

      Reply
    7. Stranger than fiction

      I think you’re on to something. I’ve actually said for a while now that it’s all my moms fault that I can’t sleep with any light or noise going on.. Because when we were little, she would tip toe around the house and all the blinds and drapes would be shut tight while we were napping. I didn’t do that with my kids, in fact I remember clearly vacuuming right under the crib a few times, and to this day they sleep through anything, including earthquakes.

      Reply
      1. Rebecca in Dallas

        Haha, I know someone who used to mow the lawn while her kids were napping, specifically so they would learn to sleep with noise going on outside!

        Reply
    8. Audiophile

      I had my own room from the time we moved into a house. When we lived in an apartment, I shared it with my mother first and then my sister when she came along ( I think my mother slept in the living room and bought a futon to use as a couch/bed.) The first house, I had a room and my sister had a room and my mom had her own bedroom. She shared it with my sister who didn’t want to sleep in her own bed.

      I’ve shared beds with people, friends, mostly. When I was a bridesmaid in a wedding, we went to NJ for the bachelorette party and there was briefly a discussion of sleeping arrangements. When someone kindly pointed out that the only person I really knew “well” was the bride, everyone agreed it wouldn’t be fair to make me share a bed with anyone else. It was awkward enough sharing with her.

      Reply
    9. Rusty Shackelford

      I shared a bed with my sister when we were very young, and I still shudder at the idea of sharing a bed with anyone I didn’t marry or birth. On the other hand, my sister in law was the only girl in her family and I assume never shared a bed with her brothers, and yet she thinks nothing of piling a bunch of teenage cousins together, so, I guess that’s kind of the reverse of your situation.

      Reply
    10. aebhel

      I shared a bed with my brother when I was a kid (and I’m female) and that’s still a whole world of nope for me. I probably wouldn’t bedshare with that same brother now as an adult, I’m sure as hell not going to share with a coworker.

      Reply
    11. One of the Sarahs

      ooh, I have anecdata about this too! My dad (70) grew up poor and shared a bed with his brother, and before his dad died, at his mother’s fertile times of the month, he had to share a bed with his dad while his mum shared with his brother, because his mother really didn’t want to get pregnant again.

      BUT! All that meant was that my dad was really hyper-aware that sharing beds with siblings was horrible, and while he’d pack us into rooms like sardines on air mattresses etc, was really aware of it – and would never want to share a bedroom with a colleague!

      Reply
  13. March

    Oh nooo. I’d be massively uncomfortable with that, OP. A close family member, a sibling, or hell, even a close friend, that’s one thing. A coworker?! No. Nope. Nooo.

    Reply
  14. L

    Yes, unfortunately, it’s a thing in academia. Broke grad students and broke junior faculty members need to attend conferences in expensive cities to share their work, meet people, and interview. In some fields, the first rounds of faculty interviews take place exclusively at the national conference, so you can’t just opt out. My department was explicit about the fact that it wouldn’t fund the full costs of conference attendance, and their guidelines threatened to reject funding applications that didn’t show substantial efforts to cut your spending.

    That’s how you end up with four 20-30 something academic “colleagues” sharing a tiny hotel room. Saving money by staying far away from the conference can be such an impractical, logistical nightmare that you bite the bullet on sharing your personal space. I guess the only upside in academia is that you book your own accommodations and can sometimes make arrangements with close friends?

    Reply
    1. Rusty Shackelford

      Luckily it’s not a universal thing. Mr. Shackelford hasn’t ever had to share a room in his academic travels.

      Reply
  15. Turanga Leela

    Had to do this in Teach for America. We were booked four to a hotel room for our initial orientation or induction or whatever it was. Most (although not all) of us were very young, so it seemed less insane than it would now. If I remember correctly, the official line was that we didn’t have to share beds, and if we were uncomfortable we should sleep on the floor.

    Also, I once interviewed for a fellowship where I had to share a room (although not a bed, I don’t think) with one of the other candidates. It seemed fine at the time. Looking back, it was weird.

    Reply
    1. I'm a Little Teapot

      “The official line was that we didn’t have to share beds, and if we were uncomfortable we should sleep on the floor.”

      Oh, you’re *allowed* to sleep on the floor? How generous of them.

      (Few things piss me off more than employers pretending something standard – or worse, stingy – is some magnanimous act of generosity. No, HR departments, you do not get cookies for “offering” worker’s compensation insurance, which is required by law.)

      Reply
      1. Leatherwings

        Amen to this. Seriously. If it’s shitty, at least acknowledge that it’s shitty and make something up about why it’s necessary instead of acting like OH EVERYTHING IS FINE NOTHING TO SEE HERE MOVE ALONG NO MORE QUESTIONS GOODNIGHT

        Reply
      2. sam

        my “favorite” job interview ever, was an interview with a top law firm in New York. I met with a female partner who saw that I had an undergrad degree in women’s studies, and thought she would try to impress me by telling me all about how woman-friendly the firm was because they “even let one of her associates take maternity leave”.

        I nearly did a spit take.

        Reply
        1. I'm a Little Teapot

          I once went to an interview in the early 2000s for a job as a court reporter’s assistant. She told me brightly “If you’re really good at it, you might end up making $5 an hour!” I was utterly speechless.

          She was much, much older than me; maybe she was one of those conveniently dimwitted old tightwads who forgets that inflation exists.

          Reply
      3. Stephanie

        Ha, yeah. To a lesser extent, that’s like when my boss told me how great it was they let us wear business casual now.

        Reply
      4. Joseph

        “Few things piss me off more than employers pretending something standard – or worse, stingy – is some magnanimous act of generosity.”
        Oh yeah.

        Look, I get that you’re running a business and I can understand that you might be tight on budget that you can’t necessarily afford everything. I might not love it, but I can get it. But don’t sit here and act like you’re doing me a favor by offering something that’s either (a) industry standard or (b) required by law.

        Reply
      5. Rusty Shackelford

        Oh, like when my employer retracted Jeans Fridays but said men no longer have to wear ties? So we’re even? Um, no. Not a man.

        Reply
    2. irritable vowel

      When I was in high school we traveled for statewide competitions and roomed 4 to a room, 2 per bed. It was fine if you got assigned with a close friend but super-awkward if it was with all people you didn’t know well. (And we were girls; it was way worse for the boys to share beds.) More than one person always ended up sleeping in the tub in their room.

      Reply
        1. TychaBrahe

          Our society teaches that physical affection is fine between heterosexual girls/women as as expression of close friendship. Boys/men are not granted that privilege. Boys/men are taught that such displays of physical affection make them effeminate, and calls into question their masculinity and their sexual orientation. Female friends can hold hands, can hug in greeting, can hold one another while one cries. Males cannot do that. Thus two teen boys sharing a bed is much more uncomfortable for them than two teen girls.

          Reply
    3. Episkey

      Really? I was in AmeriCorps and for our induction week, we did have to share a hotel room with another (same gender) inductee, but not a bed. There were only 2 people per room and we all had queen size beds, if I recall.

      Reply
  16. GLW

    I went to a week-long conference and ended up sharing a room (2 queen beds) with two coworkers. In addition to just not sleeping very well while sharing a bed, these two women are very different personality-wise than I am (I like to network and meet up with grad school friends, take in a new city, etc, while they were content to eat at the hotel restaurant every day and lights out at 10 every night). I ended up actually crashing with a close friend of mine a few nights when they refused to leave the hotel deadbolt unlocked so I could get in after they had gone to sleep. Moral of the story: speak up when you’re not comfortable with your rooming arrangements, and managers, please try to work with employees to 1.) not put them in these situations if possible and 2.) work with them when unexpected and uncomfortable issues do come up.

    Reply
    1. Delyssia

      Oh, hell, no! They locked you out of your room!?! I would’ve made such a scene until they woke up and let me in. OK, I’m not sure I actually would’ve, but I would be seriously tempted.

      Reply
      1. Artemesia

        This. They can expect you to tip toe in; they cannot lock you out.

        Although this story does remind me of the creepy incident when I was staying at the Gramercy Park Hotel in NYC and a drunk tried to get into my room at 2 am. When I told him to go away he got the desk clerk who tried to use the pass key to get the guy ‘into his room’. Thank goodness it was dead bolted and it has made me a little neurotic about dead bolts every since. The clerk then called the room and asked if I had paid for the room and why I was in this guy’s room. Needless to say there was no sleep that night — adrenaline through the roof — and I got the room comped. (and I hope the clerk fired, but I don’t know that)

        Reply
        1. OfficePrincess

          Yikes. Anywhere I’ve ever been you needed to show ID if you were locked out and they would check it against the name in the computer. Which, really, is the only safe way to do it. Hello, liability.

          Reply
        2. Narise

          I would have called the police if the clerk was trying to let people in my room and didn’t know it was my room.

          Reply
        3. Honeybee

          WTF?! This would’ve been really simple for the clerk to double-check on their own without waking you up and terrifying you in the middle of the night.

          Reply
      2. Amadeo

        There would have been no temptation here. The first time it happened they would have regretted locking me out away from my things. If I had to pound on the door until one of them got up or get the hotel front desk involved, they would let me in.

        Reply
        1. Edith

          And how! The first night they locked me out I would have assumed they set the deadbolt on accident out of habit, so I would have been knocking and waking them up anyway.

          For me, being locked out of my room would mean no access to my CPAP, without which I literally feel like I’m suffocating. Hell no. But even aside from that, locking you out of your hotel room means so much more logistically than just needing somewhere to sleep. You’d have no access to bedclothes, a toothbrush, contact lens solution, a hairbrush, and more. Absolutely not okay to do that to somebody intentionally. What were they thinking?

          Reply
  17. Michelle

    No way in hell am I am sharing a bed with a coworker. I have worked for a nonprofit for 14 years and never had to share a room with a coworker. One woman who has been here longer talks about how they would shared rooms & beds “back in the day”. As in 2 women per bed and 2 guys sleeping the floor. She didn’t have a problem with it then and talks about how much “fun” it was. I’m sorry but if your business is in such dire straits that you got people sleeping on the floor, maybe you shouldn’t be on a trip until things improve. I can’t even fathom members of the opposite sex being expected to share a room.

    I would have flat-out refused and requested a room of my own. I would pay for it upfront but I would expect the company to reimburse me. I

    Reply
    1. Joseph

      “I can’t even fathom members of the opposite sex being expected to share a room.”

      If you’re married or dating someone, I’m pretty sure this is one of the few times where you can successfully play the “my wife objects to me sharing a room with another woman” card (or your gender equivalent). Because nobody wants to get into the middle of your relationship drama.

      Reply
      1. Honeybee

        Meh. First of all, what if you’re queer and your spouse is the same gender as you? Or, in my case, you don’t take gender into account when determining attraction? (Not that I’m attracted to anyone and everyone, but using a ‘my spouse would object’ argument doesn’t really work for many people.)

        Second of all, my spouse’s comfort or lack thereof is irrelevant. Their feelings should have nothing to do with what my job does or does not do.

        Reply
        1. Rusty Shackelford

          And this brings up an interesting issue about the presumption that it’s okay to be forced to share a room/bed with someone of the same gender. If the underlying rationale is that it’s appropriate because there’s no risk of sexual attraction or assault, they’re making a HUGE assumption.

          Second of all, my spouse’s comfort or lack thereof is irrelevant. Their feelings should have nothing to do with what my job does or does not do.

          True. But sadly, some people don’t respect a woman’s opinion as much as they respect her husband’s opinion.

          Reply
          1. TychaBrahe

            In one of the previous AAM threads on this topic, there was a person who was sexually assaulted in the middle of the night by their same-sex roommate.

            Reply
        2. Michelle

          I don’t think anyone should be expected to share a bed with a coworker, period, and especially if they are in a relationship. I’ll be honest, I am a heterosexual person and don’t know many homosexual couples, so when I say “can’t fathom members of the opposite sex”, I am speaking from a heterosexual POV.

          I’m pretty sure my husband’s feelings about me having to share a bed with a male coworker on a business trip would be relevant. It won’t happen because I would refuse and leave whatever conference, etc. I was at.
          Of course, this is just my opinion on the subject and others may disagree.

          Reply
          1. fsun

            I can’t say that I agree with the “especially if they’re in a relationship” caveat. I admit that this is a hot button issue for me, but I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect single people to make concessions (in personal space, travel accommodations, work schedules, etc) simply because they’re single.

            Reply
  18. babblemouth

    FWIW, I used to work in a non-profit and did the bed-sharing. I’m discovering here that I’m one of the few who doesn’t mind so much. Possible reasons for this difference:

    – it was always offered as an option: we can afford either this very nice room with a bed to share; OR two very crappy rooms, it’s up to you two to decide – I knew there would not have been any professional consequences to asking for the seperate beds;

    – it only ever happened with colleagues I was good friends with and with whom I was very comfortable. Now that I think about it, I would not have agreed to do it just just anyone.

    It should never be forced on anyone without offering a clear way out.

    Tangentially related: this is why measure a charity’s effectiveness based on overhead is so annoying to sharity workers. Sharing hotel rooms is one of the quickest ways to bring down the cost of travel, which is often included in overhead.

    Reply
    1. Dr. Doll

      I’m with you, although I don’t LIKE it, it doesn’t make me cringe generally. Get the Job Done. Make Better Arrangements Next Time.

      Reply
    2. BRR

      As an option I guess is not so bad. As long as there’s no pressure.

      @ overhead. Then it ignores how this is a hell no to a lot of people and there’s higher turnover or staff can’t travel as needed reducing the results of the charity.

      Reply
      1. dawbs

        I do wonder if you truly ever get ‘no pressure’ though?

        I agree to go and room with Jamie, I’m OK bed-sharing with Jamie.
        Then Fergus can’t go because his kid is sick.
        “Hey dawbs, Jamie can’t go, but Circe can. That’s OK, right?”

        Well, I either say “no” which tells both my boss and Circe that I don’t ‘like’/trust/whatever her (It may juts be that I don’t know her, but it’s still a touch insulting), or I suck it up and hope she doesn’t murder me in my sleep.

        Reply
    3. SunnyLibrarian

      I am with you. I can understand not loving it, but I don’t get weeks of being repulsed by it.

      Even more than that, if OP knew it was going to be such an issue for her, why complain about it after the fact? Bring it up at the time!

      Reply
      1. babblemouth

        To be fair to OP, it looks like she was blindsided. I know i’ve accepted a lot of things I didn’t like because I was just presented with something already done and din’t think I could protest.

        Reply
        1. OP

          Yep. Pretty much, especially since the original plan was one bed per person. But at midnight after a thousand hours of traveling and mentally preparing for the next long day, my brain was already at the end of its rope. You would think that my many months of reading AAM would have given it something to go on. Since it didn’t happen, though, I’m glad to be prepared for any potential next time.

          Reply
    4. Nye

      Yeah, I’m in academia, and not bothered by this. I’ll almost always arrange to share a room for conferences, and even sharing a bed doesn’t bother me (though I prefer not to). I got my own room for a conference recently instead of sharing a double with 2 colleagues, and it felt decadent and wasteful. When I travel for fieldwork, on-site accommodation is often dorm-style, so I’m used to sharing with strangers, too. Funding for science is just so limited that I can’t justify cutting field sites or skipping conferences so I don’t have to share a room. And in some cases, it is simply impossible – remote field sites often have small, shared huts with bunk beds (if you’re lucky) or “bench” beds for side-by-side sleeping bags. If you’re not willing to share, you can’t go.

      Not to say that it’s unreasonable to want your own room, but you need to know your field. As Alison mentioned in passing, there are definitely some exceptions to the rule.

      For reference, I’m in my mid-30s. I do a lot of fieldwork and backpacking, so I’m used to sharing space with dirty strangers both personally and professionally.

      Reply
      1. Honeybee

        This varies across academia, too, though. I knew some assistant professors who shared rooms often and some assistant professors who never shared rooms. It kind of depended on their grant funding and their personal tolerance level, as well as how many conferences they went to per year.

        Reply
      2. Anxa

        “I got my own room for a conference recently instead of sharing a double with 2 colleagues, and it felt decadent and wasteful.”

        I’m pretty sure that’s how I’d feel in a work situation. I have a lot of grad student friends, and most are more likely to complain about wasting money on single rooms than having to a share a room. That extra $200 dollars could be gas to field sites, a week’s worth of per diem help, etc. And projects can fall through over a few hundred dollars. Plus, if you’re on government funding grants, there’s always the pressure not to live too decadently on tax payer money.

        And I think sometimes it feels like if there’s an extra $100-300 dollars for an extra room, it can feel frustrating that you can’t just get that paid as a per diem or added to your paycheck.

        My boyfriend had his own room for something he did (not for school) as a grad school and kept taking pictures and sending them to me; not only did he have his own room, but it was a fairly nice hotel! (Accommodations were provided in lieu of payment).

        I’ve had my own hotel room once, and it was such an odd feeling, even traveling personally on my own dime.

        Reply
    5. Not So NewReader

      It may be one of the quickest/easiest ways but there are other ways: Group discount, Discount for Charity; Discount for returning business customers, etc. From what I see the workers already give a ton to the charity that the charity never reimburses for and some times never even says thank you.

      I think some NPOs become so focus on the discomfort of their targeted group that they lose sight of the discomfort they are inflicting on their own help.

      Reply
    6. Rusty Shackelford

      it was always offered as an option: we can afford either this very nice room with a bed to share; OR two very crappy rooms, it’s up to you two to decide – I knew there would not have been any professional consequences to asking for the seperate beds;

      That’s great if there really are no consequences. But if Cersei’s your manager, and she’s giving you the stink eye because she had to stay in a crappy room because you refused to share a bed with her…

      Reply
  19. Phouka

    Nope nope nope. I’d be hightailing out for my own room in an instant — even if it required going to another hotel.

    I travel a lot for business, and I will not share my space, much less my bed! I can’t believe this was on purpose. I can understand sharing a room, that is unfortunately not all that uncommon, but more than 1 per bed? Hell no. This had to be an oversight or some mix up at the hotel, right?

    I would be approaching this with my manager as “will NOT be doing this again!” with an appropriate level of horror and disbelief. If my manager/company didn’t understand the problem? Wow. I would have to start looking. That’s insane.

    Reply
  20. Ann Cognito

    Ugh… Your reaction is absolutely spot on – what are they thinking! Don’t let your colleague’s reaction make you second-guess yourself. Alison’s language is perfect – straightforward and to-the-point, no excuses or discussion.

    The only person I like sharing a bed with is my husband, not with my mom, not with my sister-in-law nor with a close friend, all three of whom I’ve been in situations with over the past few years where I might have had to. Thank goodness it worked-out each time, and I didn’t have to. But while I would have if there hadn’t been a choice, never, ever, ever under any circumstance would I share a bed with anyone I work with. I don’t even want to share a room with a colleague,never mind a bed, and I realize I’m lucky that every organization I’ve worked for has paid for everyone to have their own room (including the non-profits) while traveling for work. While I would probably seriously consider leaving a job if I was expected to share a room with a colleague, for sure I would leave if sharing a bed was the expectation!

    Reply
  21. Susan

    I have social anxiety that’s no longer really affecting my work because of a combination of therapy and medication. But this would straight up send me into panic-attack mode. Maybe my scope on this topic is too biased in thinking about myself, but aren’t enough people uncomfortable with this sort of thing that accommodations should be made in advance — without someone like the OP having to point it out? I think it’s like how it’s a bit taboo these days to not have a vegetarian option at banquets due to employee’s health concerns. Isn’t employee’s mental health and a feeling of security* necessary to be protected as well?

    *I don’t mean I expect a coworker to physically harm me. But you feel “safe,” when your expectations of boundaries are kept in tact.

    Reply
    1. alice

      Safety doesn’t just have to mean physical. When you share a room with coworkers or your boss, you’re basically in Big Brother mode – whether you like your coworkers or not, you’re being constantly watched. Therefore it’s never safe to completely unwind. I have general anxiety, and I would absolutely freak out if this happened

      Reply
      1. Kate M

        Yeah, I mean, people’s guards are down at night because they’re literally unconscious. And people are human. So even normal things that happen at night mean that there’s a chance your coworkers/boss could experience that. Like…gas, getting sick and having to stay in the bathroom for a while, dealing with cramps, snoring, etc. Just trying to control all those aspects would make me anxious.

        Reply
        1. Not So NewReader

          I shared a room with a family member. We had separate beds. I woke up in the middle of the night because she was SCREAMING. It dawned on me that she was screaming in her sleep. I called her name and said, “You are alright. It is just a dream. You are okay.”
          She must have woke up quickly because there was a slight pause and then as clear as a bell I hear “Thank you”.

          I knew her history, her surgeries, her emotional losses and so on. I cannot picture me being so collected if it were a total stranger. I’d probably want to call for an ambulance or something. I have never heard a person scream like that in their sleep.

          Reply
  22. The Expendable Redshirt

    Similar story! This was a recent, optional staff retreat instead of a business trip.
    My company offers a yearly mountain retreat for the weekend. As a new staff, I signed up to try some coworker bonding. About a week before the trip, one of the trip coordinators told me that 1) people share a cabin (we can pick our roomate). 2) and that the coworker sharing a cabin also share a bed. There is one bed per cabin. These arrangements are very standard for the trip, and the coordinator wanted to make sure that I was okay with things.

    I was not okay with this. No. Not at all. Period. NO. Once I found out that I would be sleeping beside a coworker, I backed out of the retreat. How thankful I am for the coordinator! If the situation involves coworkers sleeping in the same bed, warn people ahead of time!!!!!

    Reply
    1. Pwyll

      I can think of a few hundred choice words I’d have for any company thinking a mountain camping thing where you share beds with coworkers would ever be a good idea.

      They all involve permutations of George Carlin’s 7 Dirty Words.

      Reply
  23. Art_ticulate

    I shared a bed with friends at conferences in grad school, but as a grown-ass adult, I would never. The few times I’ve been expected to do it I ended up paying for my own room and my bosses acted like I was being purposefully difficult. :/ I worked in nonprofit, though, so there’s this expectation that employees should be grateful for the bare minimum.

    Reply
    1. alice

      I’ve wondered on multiple occasions how appropriate it would be to send AAM links to managers who are a little disconnected from reality.

      Reply
        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          Does anyone remember the days years ago when I actually had this service for people who hadn’t heard back from an employer after an interview? If it had been a certain period of time, I would send a message from the site about it being inconsiderate to applicants.

          Reply
          1. Leatherwings

            I’ve seen it in the archives! I wish I had been around when it was functioning, there are a few people I would like to send that message to.

            Reply
          2. The Other Dawn

            I remember!! I only wish it was around at the time I interviewed after my company shut down. I was there for 18+ years, so I hadn’t interviewed in a VERY long time. I prepped my ass off, bought new clothes and drive 45 minutes one way to the interview (I know that’s not a lot for some, but I’d commuted about 10 minutes one way my whole career). Never heard a peep from the hiring manager or HR. Nothing at all. It felt like such a slap in the face at the time. Because of that, I’m now very attuned to how HR and hiring managers operate at my current company (and they do things right!). But yeah, I really wish that service was around at that time.

            Reply
          3. Triangle Pose

            Wait, so you, Alison, as a third party, would send a message to the potential employer that is hiring for positions and tell them that they was being inconsiderate the applicants? This surprises me because hearing a third party weigh in on hiring practices seems out of step with your general advice on here. Am I misunderstanding the mechanics of the service?

            Reply
          4. Grey

            Yes. I actually used it once. Then I felt guilty, thinking they might associate it with a more-recent applicant they might still be considering.

            Reply
        2. alice

          I love this idea, but it still feels passive aggressive. Like “Hey, Boss, I spent time researching this and just happened to find an article that pertains to this situation. See how one experienced manager and five hundred commenters agree with me?”

          Reply
        3. Mona Lisa

          This sounds like the best thing ever. After I got her hooked on it, one of my former co-workers and I used to share AAM articles with one another when they applied to our awful non-profit. I would have loved to passive-aggressively and anonymously sent them relevant articles.

          Though they’ve hired an external consultant since then, and it still doesn’t seem like they’re any closer to making changes so I’m sure they would have been too obtuse to understand why they were receiving the messages.

          Reply
        4. BRR

          I needed it this week for gifts flowing downwards and collections for a birthday and a gift for a departing colleague. Unfortunately I’ve frequently cited AAM so any article anybody receives would easily be traced back to me.

          Reply
        5. zora.dee

          omg, I wish! I posted my story way below, but I wish I could send this post to my former boss that I had to share a room with, and who made it the most painful, awkward situation possible!!

          Reply
    1. LBK

      God, what would you even do if you woke up in the middle of the night and your coworker was spooning you? Like, not even intentionally, but maybe someone who’s used to doing it with an SO at home and just naturally cuddles in their sleep. I think it would be impossible to ever look them in the eye at work again.

      Reply
              1. Trout 'Waver

                I like the way you think.

                Or you could go with it as an answer to the eternally stupid greatest weakness question.

                Reply
        1. Former Cable Rep

          After 20 years of sleeping only with my spouse, I actually DO spoon and grope in my sleep. Thankfully my spouse has never minded it, but I’d be terrified to sleep next to anyone else because of this very thing!

          Reply
          1. One of the Sarahs

            YES!!!! I actually have nightmares about waking up next to a stranger and realise I’ve been spooning them!

            Reply
      1. Turanga Leela

        Happened to a friend in the TFA four-to-a-room situation I described above. A bunch of the guys went out drinking. They went to bed, and one of them woke up to his roommate spooning him (nothing sexual, just cuddling). We all laughed about it the next day.

        Reply
        1. Debbie Downer

          Has anyone here seen My Fellow Americans? I’m thinking of the “Oh God, he’s squeezing my thigh again” scene. See also: Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

          Reply
      2. BRR

        I sometimes do it in my sleep and I would be petrified of doing it to a coworker. Do I lose my job because I was forced to share a bed?

        Reply
      3. Turtle Candle

        I’d be terrified that that would be me! I haven’t shared a bed with anyone but my partner for years and years; I’d be super afraid that unconscious me would fling arms around the coworker or something.

        Reply
      4. Not So NewReader

        I did say that to a family member that I am not close with. “Oh, I would probably think you were my husband and cuddle with you in my sleep.”

        Family member was permanently cured of the sleeping together idea.
        It works wonderfully, I tell you!

        Reply
    2. CS Rep By Day, Writer By Night

      When coorrdinating travel, my co-workers and I will sometimes joke about our spooning preferences (i.e. left vs. right or big spoon vs. little spoon), but it’s just that – a joke. We don’t even share rooms let alone beds.

      Reply
  24. Pwyll

    I heard stories about this happening at a company I worked for after I had left in which a male supervisor and a female subordinate were forced to share a bed.

    I’m still horrified by this occurrence. What could possess anyone to think this is okay?

    Reply
    1. Artemesia

      And if she had been assaulted it would have been ‘her fault’ ‘what did she think would happen’. I have been shocked when men and women are forced to share rooms on business trips — which I have heard of happening — but beds? Wow.

      Reply
    2. BananaPants

      Same gender as me or not, if I was expected to share a bed with anyone other than my spouse, our children, or my sibling, I would be marching to the front desk of the hotel and paying for my own room myself. No way in hell.

      Reply
  25. Kristine

    Ewwewwewwewweww I can’t. I just can’t.

    I’m currently in the process of booking rooms for a corporate trip and we’ve hired so many new people that we’ve outgrown our room block. I had to ask 6 people if they’re willing to share rooms (not beds!) and I feel so badly about it. I believe having your own space to decompress, sing in the shower, watch HGTV while inhaling pizza in your pajamas, etc is crucial on work trips and hate having to ask people to give that up.

    To give up basic comfort and a decent night’s sleep? Hell no. Not acceptable.

    Reply
    1. BRR

      Can you offer them something for having to share rooms? I’d be upset if I had to share a room and my coworker didn’t.

      Reply
      1. Kristine

        I was thinking of sending amenities to their rooms, like chocolates or something, as a thank you. The executives in charge of this trip think anyone under 30 shouldn’t balk at having to sharing a room and consider getting their own room a perk of seniority. To be fair, these 6 people (sharing as groups of 2) put themselves on the volunteer list in case room sharing was necessary, and each of the pairs are close friends outside of work. But I still know how annoying it is to give up the privacy of your own room.

        Reply
        1. MillersSpring

          Wow. I wish you could go to your senior executives and state that room-sharing is a no-go, that it’s no longer acceptable for employers to force this, and that the employees under 30 would be job searching immediately if forced to share rooms.

          I wish we could lump it in with sexism, racism, ageism, tipping 15%, etc. “Room sharing? God no, of course we no longer do that. Are you kidding? Of course not. No.”

          Reply
        2. WellRed

          Book outside your room block? A nearby hotel? Send fewer people? Honestly, chocolates would probably annoy me further. (I realize this is not your fault).

          Reply
          1. Kristine

            This event takes place at a lodge resort in the middle of the woods. There’s literally no where else to put people (I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about a company that forces people to attend company events in the middle of the woods as well). We’ve booked every room at the lodge, and it’s a team event, so selectively un-inviting 3 team members doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s one of those situations where there isn’t really a creative solution.

            Reply
            1. One of the Sarahs

              I know it’s not your fault, but I’d totally come down with some hideous short-term illness, that meant I would have to regretfully miss this…

              Reply
        3. fsun

          I’m just over that 30 threshold, and let me tell you, if my employer made me share a room because of my age, I’d be livid. I could live with it being a perk of longevity *with the company* but it would need to be equally applied. Being born before someone else doesn’t merit a gold star (or a single room, in this case).

          Reply
  26. alice

    Quick story: My high school would take all the juniors on a 2-day/1-night trip to visit nearby colleges (it was a small school back east). There were two students to a room, but no one shared a bed. The year I went, a brand-new administrator talked about how it would save money to have four students to a room and two to a bed. I’ll never forget the response of one teacher: “Four teenagers in one room?! We’d have catfights in one room and potsmoking in another before check-in is complete!”

    Not that that’s applicable to adult coworkers, but if my high school had a no-sharing-beds policy, so should your employer.

    Reply
    1. KR

      We had so much pot at our high school trip, so I guess your former teacher was right. We had standard 4 to a room (though we had only 3 people and we were friends).

      Reply
    2. Chinook

      I have a story too! Though this one was for a church pilgrimage to see the Pope in Toronto and not a business trip.

      Thing is, pilgrimages are done on the cheap and you are happy with what you get, so most nights we had 4 women in one room and our parish priest (who was 30 at the time) got his own room. That was until the night we spent outside in Downsfield Park with 20,000 other people. We all had our sleeping bags but the 3 other women all looked at me (who was 30 and the rest early 20’s) and asked “Who gets to sleep next to Father?” (Father was totally clueless that this discussion was going on. He was sweet but very clueless). It was decided that I, because I was closest in age, got to sleep next to him. When we all rolled out our sleeping bags and he realized the sleeping arrangements, I just asked him if he was a cuddler and watched him turn beat red. :)

      It must have worked out fine, though, because he offered to travel with me at the end of the trip when we were both sticking around for a couple of days of sightseeing.

      Reply
    3. Sparkly Librarian

      My senior year of high school, my performing group went on a weeklong field trip. We had 5 or 6 to a room. That was the year my mom wasn’t a chaperone, so while BFFs paired up and moms shared beds with their daughters, I had to share with the choir director. #awkward

      Reply
      1. OfficePrincess

        That reminds me of a speech trip I took in high school to go to nationals. I had my own bed at the hotel thanks to there being an odd number of girls, but we got there via train. I ended up sitting next to our coach, who slept with his head half on my shoulder most of the way.

        Reply
    4. MashaKasha

      I went on a science conference when I was in high school (Eastern Europe) where we had five guys, two girls (all of us age 15-17) and a female chaperone in her 50s in our group. We stayed in a boarding school that had let out for winter break so all rooms were available for The other girl and I got to share a room with the chaperone (no bed-sharing, which I could’ve actually been okay with, as the other girl was a close friend.) The chaperone was super vigilant, didn’t let us stay in the guys’ room after nine pm, that type of thing. She was really hellbent on making sure we were on our best behavior. One night I woke up and there was a random older dude, maybe in his 20s, standing next to my bed and asking if I could scoot over so he’d lie down! I had never seen that man in my life. I like that he asked permission though, such a gentleman. I said no, he started arguing and trying to convince me. I was pretty scared and had no idea how to get him to leave. My friend woke up from the commotion, looked at us, said “oh god”, turned her back to me and went back to sleep. (She later told me she thought I knew the guy and was okay with the situation. I was a nerdy kid and that was completely out of my character, but oh well.) The guy finally left after I said that I would scream and wake everyone on the floor if he didn’t get out that minute. Our chaperone, who was there specifically to protect us from situations like that one, slept through the whole thing. To this day I have no idea who this person was and how he’d gotten in. I didn’t tell anyone at the conference. Ah, the 80s.

      Reply
      1. Edith

        My high school band did a trip once every four years, and for me it was freshman year. We were four to a room, sharing two queen beds, but it was fine since we got to pick our roommates. Our chaperone was just about as useless as yours. There were no near-miss assaults in our room, but when our chaperone overheard us singing “Do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight, get down tonight” she made a point of telling our 14-year-old asses that we’d better be married first.

        Reply
    5. SaraV

      In high school, our marching band took a major trip every other year. We were four to a room, sharing beds. I shared with a friend of mine, but the other two girls in our room were “leftover” as they couldn’t get in a room with an odd number of friends. We made it work. Senior year, there was a group of four of us that requested to room together, so that was okay with us.

      Then there was my husband, who was in pep band in college. One year, when travelling for the NCAA basketball tournament, the band and cheer squad went to check in to their hotel, and the front desk clerk asked how they were going to pay. Weeellll….that was supposed to be taken care of by either the school or the NCAA. Either way, due to that fubar, instead of having a roommate, my husband had an Embassy Suite room to himself for a weekend.

      Reply
  27. apopculturalist

    I had a nightmare job right out of college that had a similar scenario, but 4 OF US TO A ROOM. The hotel would only allow one cot per room, so one person got a bed, one got the cot and the other two shared.

    As the lowest on the totem pole, I was one of the ones who shared. And it was with my manager, no less.

    Looking back, I shudder, but at the time, like Alison noted, we were all pretty young — my manager was in her late 20s, I was in my early 20s. The whole company felt a little like a sorority (which of course presented its own problems) and boundaries between personal and professional were nonexistent.

    All this, of course, while our company was raking in the dough. Our CEO was a total narcissist who stayed in the presidential suite while this shit happened.

    Reply
  28. Jubilance

    Stories like this show me that I’m so not cut out for life at a non-profit. There’s no way I’m be ok with sharing a room with a coworker, and definitely not a bed. I’d rather not travel at all and instead look at teleconferences or some other medium.

    Reply
    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      It really varies by nonprofit though! If you go with “small and scrappy” (or even “bigger now but haven’t professionalized and are pretending we’re still scrappy”), this stuff can be an issue (although even then, bed sharing would be REALLY unusual to encounter). But lots of nonprofits run professionally.

      Reply
      1. SL #2

        We’re a small and scrappy non-profit (4 staff members! It doesn’t get much smaller than us…) and I’ve always had my own room on business trips! It was actually my mid-sized and well-funded nonprofit where I found myself sharing a room (a very, very large room with 2 beds and a gorgeous view, so it made up for it) with one of the other junior employees. She and I got along great, at least.

        Reply
    2. Pwyll

      To be fair, there are many, many, many non-profits that would never dream of doing this. When I worked for an organization with a $300,000 annual budget, I still got my own hotel room when I traveled to conferences. If we could make it work, everyone can. or, as someone said above, they simply can’t afford the trip.

      Reply
      1. Mona Lisa

        That sounds lovely. My awful non-profit was very penny-wise but pound-foolish so they were always trying to save a little money here and there whenever they could. When four other co-workers and I were attending mandatory national meetings, the only person who got their own room was the one man on the trip because we needed to save money by putting at least two women in each room. (Everyone did get their own beds, thankfully.) However, there was apparently enough money in the org’s budget to constantly send the CEO to multiple (optional) brand conferences and put her up in her own hotel rooms. Sure, those conferences might have actually been crucial to our success, but the optics of it still weren’t great for a staff that wasn’t treated well in any other aspect of our employment.

        Reply
        1. BRR

          That sounds similar in principle to mine. “We need to be careful with our money” and yet travel is frequently booked last minute. I’m traveling in a month for a conference and I looked ahead of time for the cheapest flight and pointed it out. We have a full-time travel coordinator as my organization does A LOT of travel but it seems to be something that can be reigned in.

          Reply
          1. Mona Lisa

            Oh, probably not. This org, though it was a non-profit geared towards supporting women, had a significant number of practices and policies that were not female friendly. (For example, when we pushed back against the fact that we were the only local branch in a national group that didn’t have paid maternity leave, they told us we should be grateful the they even complied with FMLA because, since our branch had so few people, they didn’t technically have to.)

            Reply
    3. sam

      my brother works for a pretty major global non-profit, and he doesn’t have to do things like this. In fact, he sometimes thinks they spend too much money on stuff like this because he’s personally a pretty “scrappy” person who eschews a lot of material things*, and I sometimes have to point out that it’s actually OK that they treat their professional staff like professionals. Don’t get me wrong – there is definitely a line to be drawn between professionalized salaries/benefits and waste, but good non-profits can and do recognize that they need to be run like a professional organization – just one that serves a purpose other than profit.

      *note that this somehow does not mean he ever turns down being treated to dinner by anyone in our family :)

      Reply
    4. Triangle Pose

      Yes! I said something similar below. I just can fathom this happening anywhere I have ever worked (for profit corporations and law firms). The fact sharing that rooms for business travel is even under the umbrella of possibilities makes me run away screaming from working at non-profits. Happy to donate and volunteer but do not think it’s for me for employment. There’s a category of things I can’t deal with in the pursuit of saving money for the mission of the non-profit/the taxpayer. There are similar/related rules and norms in public sector that also make me hesitant to work for the federal/state government and makes me think all the benefits and job security in that sector are not worth it.

      Reply
  29. Spills

    Oh god, this is giving me flashbacks! I’ve had not one, but TWO jobs where this was the case.

    The first was when I was working for an extremely small non-profit, and was actually on-site helping a client with an event. We ended up having 4 women in one room, and I had to share a bed not only with a client, which was weird enough, but she was also someone I had just met the day before. It was my first job out of college, and I was the youngest, so didn’t feel I could push back. It was strange, but the women were all really nice, so I wrote it off as a one time thing.

    The second job that I had to do this for was HORRIBLE. My first day on the job I flew out to British Columbia for an event (from NJ), arrived at the hotel to check in, was given my room key, only to find the room was a DISASTER. Turns out I was sharing a room with my boss, a fact she neglected to tell me, and she had been there a few days already, with her clothing and impluse shopping purchases strewn about the room. It never got better from there…turns out that she hated me with a vengeance, and we were traveling every weekend together, from Thursday-Monday, and working 16-20 hour event days while on the road. She was the nastiest, most unorganized person I have ever met, and I couldn’t ever escape from her even for a half hour. I was the most stressed and unhappy I have ever been, and was incredibly relieved when she forced me out of the company after only a few months on the job.

    Reply
    1. Spills

      On the flip side, in between the first job and the second job, I worked at another non-profit where they were supremely respectful of people’s time outside of the event we were traveling for. We hosted a staff appreciation dinner for the staff for every trip, everyone got their own room, and everyone was free to do what they wanted and were treated as adults. Not all non-profits are bad!

      (Also, the absolutely horrible job was with a super cool, super trendy start-up that supposedly placed a high value on employee happiness–that was not the case in practice!)

      Reply
      1. Pwyll

        Sometimes I feel like these super trendy startups who say they care about employee happiness really mean they care about the FOUNDERS’ happiness.

        Reply
        1. Spills

          Very true! I know that they weren’t concerned about travel budgets when they were booking presidential suites during the annual expos in Vegas, and buying bottle service every night.

          Unfortunately for me, I was getting the Budget motels in Who-Knows-Where, Middle America with the mold and the terrible boss!

          Reply
  30. The Rat-Catcher

    I remember being in high school and going to a volleyball tournament and the bed space being such that someone had to share with the coach. As I was one of the youngest and least popular on the team, the other girls paired up with each other and decided I was doing it. I flat-out refused and said I was going to sleep in the chair instead, and I did. I threatened to call my mom and have her pick me up if they tried to make me, and I assume someone realized the horrific things that could result if a thirteen-year-old girl were forced to share a bed with an adult.
    Every year I get older, that story seems weirder.

    Reply
    1. Sparkly Librarian

      Yup, that was me on the field trip I mentioned above. I honestly think my status as the only queer girl factored into it. The unpopular girl got the fold-out couch to herself, but I had to double up with the very proper adult director.

      Reply
    2. BrownEyedGirl

      I have a friend who coaches teenagers. We go on a big group vacation, and he never shares rooms with anyone who isn’t his own age/who he hasn’t known since he was an infant. “Coach doesn’t share with the team.”

      Reply
      1. ThursdaysGeek

        I’ve been a chaperone at church youth conferences, and we often have 4 to a room with 2 beds. If possible, there is 1 adult in each room, which means I’ve often shared a bed with a teen. I feel sorry for them, having to share a bed with the older lady. But I point out that I don’t cuddle, I don’t move, I’ll stay on one edge away from them. Sometimes one girl will take the extra pillows and make their own spot on the floor rather than sharing a bed. I’ve heard the guys often sleep on the floor or bring an air mattress and sleeping bag rather than share a bed. I don’t see the danger — there would be plenty of witnesses if I were inappropriate.

        Reply
        1. Rusty Shackelford

          When my daughter goes on high school trips, the students aren’t allowed to share rooms with chaperones.

          Reply
        2. One of the Sarahs

          I used to volunteer with kids, and the cast iron rule was that adults were never alone with kids ever, without another adult in the sightlines. Definitely never, ever, ever sleeping in the same bed – and even though I know I would never do anything bad to a kid, the possibilities of things going bad are so many – from accidentally touching the kid in the night, to them accidentally touching you, to the kids deciding to make false accusations etc. You saying “there would be plenty of witnesses” is just wrong when we’re talking about people sleeping!

          If I were you, I’d be bringing an air mattress, because even if you think all those scenarios are nonsense, it’s absolutely not fair for anyone to be made to share with someone who has power over them.

          Reply
  31. Mental Health Day

    Hell no. I am large, scary-looking, and not physically intimidated by other people. And there is no way in this world I would share a bed with a coworker under any circumstances. I can’t imagine how this must feel for people that might feel more physically vulnerable to unwanted behaviors. Even sharing a room would be pushing it for me. The only circumstance I would share a room in would be an exigent situation where we arrive very late, the place is overbooked, etc.
    If some shitty little startup or non-profit can’t afford for everyone to have their own room (or AT LEAST bed), then they do not have the money send people on required business travel. This is what teleconferencing is for.
    If this is an optional conference or something, and this doesn’t bother you, hey knock yourself out. But let people make the choice up front. Not under the doorframe of the hotel room.
    OP, I am generally curious, did Boss not act like it was weird at all?

    Reply
    1. OP

      OP, I am generally curious, did Boss not act like it was weird at all?

      Yep. Boss would have known this was going to happen, but it wasn’t mentioned at all. There was no group discussion of who was going to sleep where–Coworker and I basically worked it out ourselves. Boss made no comments about the arrangements during the trip, so I don’t think they thought it was anything unusual at all.

      Reply
  32. AnonNurse

    I’m getting ready to go out of town only for one night during an education session but have no desire to share a room with a co-worker, much less a bed! That’s just crazy talk. Wow. You are in no way wrong here. Continue to remind yourself of that!

    Reply
  33. Katie the Fed

    Only way I’m doing this is if I get to be the little spoon.

    And if I work with Taye Diggs :)

    Reply
  34. Mental Health Day

    Does anybody remember that movie Planes, Trains, and Automobiles?

    “My hand is resting between two pillows.”
    “Those aren’t pillows!”

    Reply
  35. Me2

    Curious, it seems like this is something that is asked of women. Almost all the examples above are of females being asked (forced?) to share. Is this something men would never be asked to do even if they were young, academics, non-profit, etc.?

    Reply
      1. Turanga Leela

        Yes. I’m a woman, but it happened at Teach for America orientation. Four men to a hotel room, four women to a hotel room. Only exception was if the group didn’t divide evenly by four and you were lucky enough to be in a smaller group.

        (I have now brought this example up in three separate threads here. Sorry!)

        Reply
        1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)

          Lol, TFA orientation! The horror stories I’ve heard. (I used to work for a TFA spinoff.)

          Reply
      2. Ann Cognito

        My husband’s last job, a high-tech company (well-established not a start-up), had a room-sharing policy, obviously guys with guys, women with women. He traveled pretty frequently for that job, and always shared a room, apart from one time where he was the “spare” guy, so he got a room to himself.

        Reply
        1. DoDah

          I’m in tech– it’s very very common to share a room. Men and women. One of my co-workers used to regale us with stories about another co-worker’s snore-volume. When they traveled together he would either pay the difference to get his own room OR sleep in the bathtub.

          Reply
      3. College Career Counselor

        I have had to share rooms at conferences, office retreats, various off-site meetings. In most cases, it was cost-saving for the university and/or consortium. The upside was that I knew/worked with the people in question, and they were apparently easy-going about it (as was I). However, I’ve never had to share a bed with a colleague. Also, I’ve certainly benefitted from being the odd male in a mostly female conference-going group.

        Sharing rooms is often the case in higher ed, especially if you’re staying in dorms on some other institution’s campus. Although I didn’t really consider it that big a deal at the time, reading others’ comments in this thread and previous ones has made me very much aware that not everyone is comfortable and that no one should be made to share (or penalized for NOT wanting to share) a room.

        Reply
      4. AnotherFed

        I’ve had the opposite experience – as the only woman on trips, I’ve gotten an entire room to myself while the guys had to share beds. But that was back when I worked for a pretty small contractor. People got to pocket the savings for sharing a room, so it was semi-voluntary (I’m pretty sure senior people pressured others into sharing, even if it wasn’t mandatory), but if we were going somewhere last minute or during tourist season, sharing was sometimes necessary to keep per person costs below the per diem limits.

        Reply
    1. Pwyll

      I’m male and I’ve had to do this before, though only in my early career. And almost everyone I know in a Ph.D. program, male and female, have had to share rooms when going to conferences.

      Reply
    2. Ann O'Nemity

      My old university used to require folks to share along gender lines. On one memorable occasion, that meant four guys in one room (two per bed), and one woman who had a room all to herself.

      Reply
      1. Stephanie

        That happened to me in high school for a state science fair trip. I was the only female student. Faculty and students couldn’t share hotel rooms. So…I had an entire room to myself.

        Reply
        1. blackcat

          There are days when I walk into the MASSIVE women’s restroom on my floor of the building and think, “This is mine. All mine.” I am one of 2 women (out of 30ish people) who have offices on that floor, and the other travels a lot.

          There are few advantages to being a woman in science. Enjoy what you can.

          Reply
          1. Stephanie

            I have essentially a private bathroom at work myself. The one time I saw another woman in there, we were both really confused.

            Reply
            1. Annie Moose

              Heh, there was a letter not all that long ago about a company considering changing up their bathrooms because (horror of horrors) the men sometimes had a line!!! while the women never did because there were so many less of them.

              I believe the general thrust of the comments was that the guys could suck it up, buttercup, and learn a little about what it’s like on the other side! (Alison also pointed out that it may in fact be illegal, and definitely would be alienating, to turn women’s bathrooms into men’s.)

              Reply
  36. AW

    The closest I ever came to this was the senior trip in high school. One of the hotels we stayed in only had 3 beds for the four of us. I ended up sleeping on the floor. They seemed very offended I didn’t want to share a bed with any of them but I figured I was sparing them.

    (I didn’t find out until we left that particular hotel that the couch was a pull out bed.)

    Reply
  37. Not Karen

    I also come from nonprofits and their policy on room-sharing was that they suggested you share a room out of the goodness of your heart to save the company money but it was in no way required.

    Reply
  38. Elizabeth West

    I’ve only done this on college choir trips, where we had four to a room with two beds. And ONE time at Nonprofit Job, where I shared a room with my supervisor, but I slept on the pullout. I didn’t mind because she was a friend from back in middle school and we had slept in the same actual bed before on numerous sleepovers. So us in one small suite together for one night was not really a big deal. We’d already seen each other’s underwear many times.

    But if we hadn’t been BFFs from childhood, then nope, too intimate. I don’t want to know what my coworkers’ or boss’s underwear looks like. >_<

    Reply
    1. Al Lo

      I plan our touring program for a youth performing arts organization, and the participants pay to go on tour (as part of a choir, to compete and perform). Our rule is that students are 4 to a room, and adults are 2 to a room. Kids are expected to share a bed; adults can pay the upgrade fee for a single room. Most don’t, but it’s an option. When we were in China, many hotels had two single beds, so the students were 2 to a room, with their own beds, instead of 4 to a room, sharing a queen bed.

      However, there’s a big difference when you’re in junior high and you get to request a roommate. As lots of people have said, it’s different at that age. Band camp and all that.

      Actually, the hotel we stayed in on our last tour had “family suites,” so we would put 5 or 6 kids in a suite with 2 queen beds, a pullout couch, and bunk beds. With 5, they didn’t have to share at all; with 6, there was only one share (and the expectation when they signed up was that they all had to share, so it was a nice bonus if that wasn’t the case).

      Reply
      1. Elizabeth West

        Even in college, it wasn’t that weird–many people lived in the dorm and had roommates. And of course, college students in communal living situations, or who crash over at people’s places after parties, etc. tend to be somewhat blase about that sort of thing.

        Reply
  39. Ann Furthermore

    Just the thought of having to do this is completely skeeving me out.

    I worked for a consulting firm years ago that was super cheap about everything. They landed a contract with a client by submitting a lowball bid, and then everyone else had to cut corners on expenses.

    I flew out to spend a couple days teaching an Oracle Payables training class. It was a cluster before I even got there, because there was no test instance for me to work in when I was preparing my materials, so I had to do it all from memory. But that’s another rant.

    There were 2 other consultants at the client site as well, a man and a woman. They were sharing a 2 bedroom suite at a Residence Inn, because it was cheaper than 2 separate rooms. That’s understandable, and even reasonable, and there were also 2 bathrooms so there was no personal space issue. It would still bother me to have to do even that, but I’m an intensely private person and in that situation I’d suck it up and deal with it.

    The woman working there met me at the airport, because there was only one rental car. Again, reasonable — it makes no sense for everyone to get their own car when they’re all staying at the same place, and sharing a car is no big deal. We went out to dinner, and she said, “Oh, it’s too bad Tom is a guy, because otherwise you could have stayed on the pull-out sofa in the living room of the suite!” I looked at her and said, “No, I couldn’t have.” She asked why and I replied, “Because we are not girls in junior high school having a slumber party, we are adults. As an adult, I need my own space and a little bit of privacy, and that is not an unreasonable expectation of business travel.” She was shocked. I was serious though…had she told me I was going to be sleeping on a pull-out sofa, I would have put my foot down and gotten my own room.

    Reply
  40. Ife

    YIIIIIIKES. I keep picturing the scene from Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.

    My mind is reeling trying to imagine sharing a bed with a coworker. I mean, I honestly don’t even think that would occur to me. The thought process would be, “There are three of us and two queen-size beds. There are not enough beds. We need another room.”

    Reply
  41. Mustache Cat

    This is why I’m so glad I read AskAManager. This one of those norms/crossing of norms that apparently never filtered down to me! The entire time I was reading this letter like, girl, no one likes to share beds, but you’re totally overreacting. But apparently not!

    Filed away under “Useful Things to Be Aware Of”

    Reply
    1. vivace

      I’ve done a lot of bed sharing in my life due to traveling, however trips I’ve shared beds with my travel mates on were 1) optional trips 2) a well desired trip and 3) ultimately paid for by me. I don’t know many college students willing to fork over a few hundred extra bucks just for their own room. That’s why hostels are a thing. But business travel is COMPLETELY different.

      Reply
  42. Kate M

    I’m actually working the Dem Convention this year in Philly, and a group of us got an AirBnB house together. Which means sharing beds. It’s not my favorite thing, but in this case there’s just so few options that are still available or not crazy expensive for that week. Plus they’re not coworkers. But I actually haven’t even met them yet, which is going to be weird. So I’m hoping it will work out ok, but we did have a person drop out once they realized it would be a shared bed situation, which I didn’t blame them for.

    Reply
    1. Student

      Maybe I’m weird, but I prefer to just bring a little air mattress and a sleeping bag/pillow & blankets on the floor if I have the option rather than share a bed.

      There are very small air mattresses that fit easily in luggage for backpack camping trips, basically like a small raft for a swimming pool, or larger very nice ones that will fit in a normal suitcase if you aren’t bringing along a ton of clothes.

      Reply
      1. Kate M

        That might actually end up happening if some people are uncomfortable – they’re free to use an air mattress or sleep on the couch if preferable. But since we’re splitting the costs evenly, I’d rather it be their choice to forgo a bed for something less comfortable to sleep alone, rather than charging someone the same and then assigning them to an air mattress or something.

        Reply
      2. MashaKasha

        I went to a week-long (fun) conference with my two sons, who were then 13 and 16. There were two beds in the room. We brought an air mattress, and took turns sleeping on it. Worked great. Ours was pretty bulky, though (we drove to the event).

        Reply
    2. SL #2

      My old job does SXSW, which means the digital team gets an AirBnB in Austin every year. Usually they get a large enough house with rooms for everyone, but the company expenses all air mattresses and sleeping bags if necessary.

      Reply
  43. Student

    Had this happen to me once at a conference. I had no idea, until we arrived, that we’d been booked five women to one room with three beds. Ended up sharing a pull-out bed with a colleague, only because the conference was on a dang tourist island and there was no possible way to personally buy a different hotel room myself.

    Same job, different trip, I was told (not asked!) by the conference organizer (not my boss, not even in my organization!) that I would be sharing a room with a complete stranger (!!!), from a different business (!), who was also attending the conference. Of the same gender, but that really doesn’t make sharing a hotel room with a complete stranger more acceptable to me. I booked a cheap discount room at a hotel down the road instead, because that is insane and I don’t have to indulge it.

    Reply
  44. TheDacian

    My company would never require shared rooms even. But I was managing several groups as an expat in Asia for some years and our Thai and Malaysian employees preferred to share rooms. Many hated to travel alone. Just shows what cultural differences there are.

    Reply
    1. Triangle Pose

      Any insight has to why they hated to travel alone? Also, how is not sharing rooms “traveling alone?” You’re still in the same hotel and in transit together, just sleeping in separate rooms!

      Reply
      1. SL #2

        I am not from SE Asia so I don’t know how prevalent this is there, but in China, it’s not… uncommon… for sketchier hotels to cooperate with local prostitution rings. They’ll sneak the ladies into your room, who then demands payment or brings the police with her, saying that you raped her. And of course, the police will arrest you unless you pay them a substantial bribe (that they split with the ladies and with the hotel staff). It’s happened to multiple family friends before.

        Reply
      2. TheDacian

        Some cultures are much more gregarious than others and don’t put the same value on personal space. Since they are always surrounded by people, being alone can feel like solitary confinement I guess. Just as with people asking your salary, making physical contact, or commenting on your appearance, cultural norms vary enormously around the world. That’s what makes work abroad interesting.

        Reply
        1. Triangle Pose

          I’m aware that cultural norms vary enormously around the world. People asking your salary, making physical contact, or commenting on your appearance are all pretty well known culture differences in social norms.

          I had simply never heard of single rooms instead of shared rooms for business travel characterized as ” traveling alone” or “solitary confinement.” That’s why I inquired.

          Reply
  45. Birdie

    Someone in my old (very large well known across the globe) organization had a name that could be a man’s name or a women’s name. During a large convention because he was a junior employee, had to share a room with another junior employee. Well the organization put him with a woman and then gave him a difficult time when trying to fix the situation. Neither of us are with that organization anymore. We are both with much smaller companies who would never force us to share a bedroom (or bed) with a coworker.

    Reply
  46. Jess

    AH! Once when booking a business trip my boss specifically asked me to agree to one room, one bed, “To save money.” I just flatly said, “Absolutely not. If we have to be in a two-bed room I’ll live with that, but under no circumstances am I sharing a bed with you. It’s never going to happen.” When I got my tickets, we were in separate rooms. Guess my boss thought it wouldn’t hurt to ask.

    So creepy and inappropriate.

    Reply
      1. Jess

        No, a woman. It doesn’t make it less creepy though. The rest of the short time I worked for her, I always wondered why she wanted to share a bed (not just a room, a bed!) with me so badly when obviously our company could afford two rooms.

        Reply
        1. Rusty Shackelford

          And even if there was only enough money for one room, that doesn’t mean you have to share a bed. Almost always, when I book a room, 2 queens costs the same as 1 king.

          Reply
  47. jaxon

    I would not even hesitate to call the front desk and book a separate room for myself immediately. I would gladly deal with the consequences – which should be minimal – later. This is a pretty clear line that shouldn’t be crossed.

    Reply
    1. zora.dee

      What really sucks is when you are so underpaid working for such a badly funded organization that you literally don’t even have $200 in your bank account to get your own room in an emergency. :o(

      Reply
      1. jaxon

        I would have no problem telling them to charge it to the same card (or whatever) as the original rooms. Or I would put it on my own credit card, secure in the notion that I would be reimbursed. Or I would literally call my boss, or my finance manager, on the spot to get them to authorize it. I would NOT sleep in the same bed with a coworker I wasn’t also having a torrid affair with.

        Reply
  48. Triangle Pose

    Runs away screaming!!!

    Can someone tell me if this would EVER happen in the (for-profit) corporate world? I just can fathom this happening anywhere I have ever worked and it’s under the umbrella of possibilities that makes me run away screaming from working at non-profits. Happy to donate and volunteer but do not think it’s for me for employment. Of course I don’t think every non-profit has sharing of hotels rooms (let alone sharing of hotel beds?!) but it’s under the umbrella of things I can’t deal with in the pursuit of saving money for the mission of the non-profit. There are similar/related rules and norms in government world that also make me hesitant to work for the federal/state government and make me think all the benefits and job security in that sector are not worth it.

    Reply
    1. Alienor

      Not beds, but I work for a humongous for-profit corporation and we definitely have to share rooms when traveling.

      Reply
    2. Felicia

      In all the non profits I have worked for, sharing rooms (let alone beds!) at a hotel on a business trip has not been a thing, and would not ever be considered ok. At the one for profit I ever worked for, though I didn’t go on a business trip with them, my colleagues who did told me sharing rooms was standard on all their business trips. So sharing rooms is definitely not universal in non profits, and sharing rooms is not unheard of in for profits.

      Reply
      1. Triangle Pose

        Interesting! It looks like from this thread that your experience of sharing in for-profit/single rooms in non-profits is the exception. However, this thread might just be self selection/anecdotes does not equal data. I’m so curious what for-profit it was and what time period we’re talking about w/r/t “sharing rooms was standard on all their business trips.”

        Reply
        1. Felicia

          It was a marketing agency that mostly had movie studios as clients. It definitely was a company that didnt like to spend money on things, paid entry level employees poorly and required outrageous hours and had unrealistic expectations. This was about 4 years ago but I wouldnt be surprised if they still do the room sharing requirement now

          Reply
    3. Turtle Candle

      Rooms, yes, at my for-profit company (and I never realized that that might be unusual until I started reading AAM). Beds, no, thank God.

      Reply
    4. Some Sort of Management Consultant

      It definitely happens. I work for one of the Big4 accouting firms and at least us juniors have to share rooms on bigger trips. Not on small trips where the clients are billed in the end, but on conference and the like, we have to share rooms. Only junior employees though.

      To be fair, I hadn’t expected anything else. Going on a conference with 1000+ is pretty expensive and if some people didn’t share rooms, we probably wouldn’t be able to go.

      Reply
      1. Triangle Pose

        Wow, it really surprises me that the Big4 accounting firms have people sharing rooms, even at a conference. I always thought Big4 is pretty similar to BigLaw in more than a few ways (sharing rooms is unheard of in BigLaw, even for summers, who are at the bottom of the pecking order) and would have put this in the similar category. Thanks for the info!

        Reply
    5. Bag of Jedi Mind Tricks

      @Triangle Pose: I’ve always worked at For-Profit Companies where lots of travel was required and I have NEVER heard of making employees share rooms. Heck, some of them don’t even want to sit next to each other on the flight.

      Reply
      1. Triangle Pose

        We don’t sit next to each other on flights either! I like my coworkers but there is no reason we NEED to sit together during travel.

        Reply
  49. Jaguar

    Just as a counterpoint to what seems like universal agreement here, sharing a room with someone I work with has never been an issue for me. I agree that businesses shouldn’t expect employees to do it, but in situations where I have been asked, it didn’t cross any boundaries for me.

    As for sleeping in the same bed, I’d just take a blanket and half the pillows and sleep on the floor/couch/whatever.

    Reply
    1. MashaKasha

      This just popped into my head, by the way. Doesn’t a hotel only provide one blanket to a bed? If so, that’s a triple ewww!

      Reply
  50. Lapsed Academic

    This happened to me in an academic setting. We had a retreat every year in a very specific hotel. Professors got single rooms, everyone else had to share. Imagine how shocked we were the first time we came into the room and there was a double bed in there!

    Worse was at the point where you had to share not with a coworker, but with a complete stranger. In the same bed.

    The second and third year I was in the department we internally switched keys around between all participants (some 500+?) so couples or friends at least could stay together, that made it mildly less awkward. I’d shared rooms with some of these people before (academia, eh), but these were far from the most comfortable nights I’ve spent.

    Reply
  51. Lauren

    You’re so polite, Allison. My response would be “Hell no!” I’d sit up all night in the lobby before I’d share a bed with anyone but my SO and/or my cats. And I’d refuse to go on another trip unless I was guaranteed that would never happen again.

    I gagged when I read the first sentence, and I am still aghast.

    Reply
    1. Lauren

      To add: I wouldn’t share a room either. This is just a line I would not yield. Also, I snore so it’s best I keep that to myself. And I sleep in the nude (though I never would if someone was around).

      Reply
  52. LibraryChick

    Uh… yeah… this is a total “no”. When faced with this I asked for extra bedding and slept on the floor. There is just no way I am crawling in bed with a coworker. The only circumstances where I would consider this is if we were on some kind of camping retreat and not sharing a sleeping bag meant freezing to death (literally).

    Reply
  53. SA

    Three or four times, I have had to share a room with the person who has been my direct supervisor for almost a decade. Once they screwed up the room and we were supposed to share a bed, but I got food poisoning and puked/laid on the floor most of the night. I think I would have preferred sharing the bed (but only by a very thin margin!!!).

    Reply
  54. NK

    Ugh, this reminds me of a time a couple years ago when Colleague A (who I also consider a personal friend) and I decided to share a hotel room on our own dime, because our business trip started on a Monday and we wanted to spend time in the city the weekend before. Colleague B, who I don’t know very well, asked if she could join, and we reluctantly agreed. Of course, Colleague B ended up with her own bed and Colleague A and I had to share. Never again! We had just finished grad school so we were all in super-frugal mode, but we all made enough money and the hotel was cheap enough that we all could have afforded our own rooms. My tolerance for bed-sharing with anyone other than my husband has drastically declined in the last 5 years or so.

    Reply
  55. Z

    I was once booked to share a bed at a convention while I was in grad school. Of course, I didn’t know that until I got there. I thought it was weird, but I was also an intern and was attending the conference (across the country) for nearly free, so I wasn’t going to argue (as in, they paid for my registration fee and reimbursed most of the airfare). The good thing was that there was another intern from my school, so they put us together. It was also a king-size bed.

    One of the organizers later told me they hated doing that to us, and they sure hoped we knew each other! But it was the only room left (a lofted suite, nice digs). And we did know each other, so we got a laugh out of it.

    Reply
  56. h.cowl

    Haha, my husband and his coworkers do this all the time. I think it’s literally insane but he doesn’t seem to mind???? #startuplife?

    Reply
  57. Faith

    I remember when my husband and I worked for the same company (different departments and different chain of commands) and ended up attending an out of town training together. The training was organized for all junior and senior staff employees country-wide, so we are talking about a large group of people, most of whom have never met each other before. Everyone was required to have a roommate, which was randomly assigned. If you had a preference, then both of you could email the meeting organizer and you would be put in the room together. However, when my husband and I inquired if we could share a room, we were told that it would not be appropriate since company policy specified that both roommates have to be of the same sex. That really irked me. I had to share a room with a complete stranger rather than my own husband because somebody was clutching their pearls at the thought of a married couple sharing the same room while attending a professional conference.

    Reply
      1. AMT

        Even if you weren’t married, that’s incredibly backwards. Who would it hurt if they were dating rather than married? What if they were just really good friends? Can a guy share a room with his boyfriend?

        Reply
        1. blackcat

          I have plenty of male friends I’d be happy to share a room with if I could avoid staying with a stranger…

          Reply
  58. SJ

    This gets me thinking about a training session I attended recently with coworkers that I felt weird about. We had to get hotel rooms for one night. We had 3 men and 4 women attending. I wasn’t at all involved with the actual room assignments (just said “yep, I’ll attend and stay in the hotel with everyone else”) and was surprised when I found out that some of us would get our own rooms while some didn’t. The big boss (male) got his own room, while the other two men shared; two women shared a room; but another woman and I each got our own room. Having my own room ended up being great, but I honestly felt really weird about it. The only things I could think of as reasons for the single rooms were: 1) two women (one of whom did the room booking!) were fine rooming together, but they didn’t want to make the third woman and I room together since we didn’t know each other, or 2) that the third woman spoke up about having a personal or medical reason for needing her own room. I agreed to the training session expecting to share a room (we don’t have a lot of money, sadly) and would have been fine doing it, but being around other people who had to share made me feel kinda like a princess. I did feel better that one of the women who shared a room did the room assignments and could have (if she chose) quieted any grumbling by letting the grumblers know that I had nothing to do with the assignments.

    Reply
  59. Scotty_Smalls

    I’ve been to two conferences for a club during undergrad. During the second year, we had 4 women in a room with with a King bed and sleeper couch. I slept in the bed with my friend Martha, and Amy and Clara were on the couch. Jack was a part of out group, but in another hotel. We woke up to find Jack in the sleeper bed with Clara. Apparently, Jack and Amy had come back late, and she offered him her spot in the sleeper bed without consulting Clara. Amy didn’t want Jack to have to walk back to his hotel a block away, because of safety I guess. Clara said she was okay with it after the fact, but really, what else could she say. I lost all respect for Jack, thankfully never had to trust Amy with anything important, and learned to hate shared hotel rooms.

    Reply
    1. Kate M

      WHAT. I would so not be ok with that. His hotel was only a BLOCK away? Plus, if I’m crashing in someone else’s hotel room (especially if I had another available to me), I’m not going to take someone’s sleeping spot. That’s just rude to begin with. Even if they offer, you say no. And then to climb in bed with someone who doesn’t know they’re going to be sharing a bed with you? WTF.

      Reply
  60. GreenTeaPot

    An organization that cannot afford separate hotel rooms at a conference has no business sending more than one person to a conference.

    I’d have paid for my own room, and then launched a job hunt ASAP.

    Reply
    1. FroggyHR

      Same. I’d book my own room, keep the folio, ask the company to reimburse me. If they refused, it’s job search time!

      Reply
  61. AF

    I was a board member with a nonprofit, and we often had limited funds. At meetings, we were given the option for a single room, or to share with another board member, but we were all pretty friendly, so I never minded sharing (we shared by gender), and we always had separate beds. Until one conference, where I was sharing a room with an older female board member. She grew up in the 60s, so her definition of what appropriate room sharing meant was very different from mine. I am modest and would always change clothing in the bathroom. The first morning, I heard her taking a shower as I was barely awake. She came out of the bathroom NAKED. TOTALLY NAKED. Fortunately, I have terrible eyesight, and didn’t have my glasses on, but I could absolutely tell that she was naked. I was obviously awake, but I kind of pretended to be okay with it without looking at her. I was mortified but I didn’t feel comfortable saying so. Never ever ever again will I ever do that.

    Reply
      1. AF

        But at least we weren’t sharing a bed! I’ve done that loads of times with friends and don’t mind at all. But oh my gosh, there is no way I’d ever do that with a coworker! My sympathies to you as well!

        Reply
    1. Kate M

      This is why I don’t like changing in my office building’s locker room. I don’t usually have a problem with naked bodies in appropriate places (and some women are fine with being naked in a locker room), but the idea that one of my coworkers could come in and see me changing means I always go into a stall to change.

      Reply
  62. Mae

    Ewwww. Boundaries. How horrifying. I’m so sorry. Maybe your travel budget will be nixed or something so you can hopefully avoid this in the future.

    Reply
  63. Newby

    I’m one of those people that is fine with sharing a bed so long as it is a queen or king bed and I’ve even shared hotel rooms with friends of the opposite gender. Even I think that it would be weird to require someone to share a bed with a coworker and not even let them know that it would happen ahead of time.

    Reply
  64. LH

    Oh this happens in for-profit companies too, at least in smaller tech companies.

    At the previous tech company I worked at, the sales people were required to share rooms with coworkers of the same sex when traveling to conferences. I didn’t travel with that company, but I know their sales people used to grumble about it. They had the money, but it was a point of pride for the CEO to keep to their “scrappy start-up” roots.

    My current company sent a team of 4 people to England for a month for training. They arranged for a male and female colleague to share a room plus myself and another colleague (both female) sharing another room. Can you imagine sharing a room with your brand new coworker for a month? Not sure what they were thinking. Our male colleague threw a fit at this arrangement and they were genuinely surprised that he was upset. We were quickly shuffled into individual short-term apartments after the first day.

    Reply
    1. AnotherAlison

      I work for an F500 company, and it was definitely A Thing in certain scenarios. Not sure if it is still this way, but it used to be required to bunk up (rooms not beds) when attending training at HQ. I went one time, and I was really stressed out about it. Fortunately, they had changed things, and the 3 women at training got their own room, while the ~30 men attending still had to bunk up. My boss was happy for me, but not happy that she and another woman had to share a room the few years prior when she went.

      There was a business purpose. A very large percentage of people employed by our company will have multi-year field assignments, and the younger staff on those have to share apartments, so it was conditioning you to live with coworkers. Glad I never had to do that, either.

      Reply
  65. Spot

    Please feel free to share the story below if they need a reason for not sharing beds:

    Several years ago, my husband went on a roadtrip with three friends. They ended up sharing a hotel room, and slept two to a bed.
    In the middle of the night, my husband blasted a fart so loud that the buddy he was sharing the bed with jerked backwards really fast, and as he was sleeping basically right against the wall, cracked his head against it, then fell into the crack between the bed and the wall.

    You don’t want to injure any coworkers right? No way to tell who’s gonna blast a fart.

    Reply
      1. Triangle Pose

        This story and the “I grope indiscriminately while asleep.” Both are just such EXCELLENT reasons to push back.

        Reply
      2. Biff

        Alison, I have a DUMB question that begs for clarification. Suppose for a moment that I accept a job and I get a “you’ll be sharing a bed or getting fired” and I suck it up for the time being while working on my resume. Suppose also that I am warned by my coworker that they are an indiscriminate cuddler in my sleep, sprawl badly and sometimes sleepwalk (and may even do naughty things while sleepwalking — I knew someone with this problem!) Let’s say for some reason that they refuse to sleep on the floor and I can’t due to a craptacular back.

        If they end up doing those things, would that fall under harassment? I feel like having coworkers share rooms is opening up a huge can of worms.

        Reply
        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          If you end up being molested by your coworker in their sleep, I would think you could have a cause for action, yes. But if it’s more like unwanted cuddling? Eeewww. I have no idea! I think maybe not, unless it was part of a pattern of issues, but I’m just speculating and don’t really know. We need Donna Ballman to come in and answer a whole bunch of horrifying hypotheticals for us.

          Reply
          1. Aurion

            I really want Donna or Bryan to come in and answer these questions, but I feel like the commentariat can come up with an abundance of horrifying hypotheticals and I don’t know if Donna or Bryan have the time.

            Reply
          2. Gaia

            I physically, full bodily, cringed at the “unwanted cuddling.” Gawd, the very idea of being cuddled by my coworkers is horrifying.

            Reply
      3. One of the Sarahs

        I am an awful snorer – do you reckon “I snore like a congested hippo” would be grounds for not sharing?

        Reply
    1. Meg

      Haha! That’s exactly what I was thinking when I read this post! I could never share a room, let alone a bed, with a co-worker because I have been known to toot in my sleep. And being anxious gives me the stomach rumbles, thus making it even more likely to happen!

      Reply
  66. Large Leak, Very Dangerous

    Unfortunately, this is very common with libraries. I’ve shared rooms but never a bed.

    However, my coworker once had to share a bed with her coworker who SLEPT IN THE NUDE.

    IN THE NUDE.

    I simply cannot even fathom that.

    Reply
    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      What?! I don’t understand. Why?! Please make your coworker come here and answer questions about this.

      (Actually, make both of them come talk to us. I have questions for the nude one too.)

      Reply
      1. Large Leak, Very Dangerous

        All I know is that it was an expensive city so to cut costs they shared, but no one told my coworker about the nudity until after the fact. This was in the 90s; the nude person isn’t where I work.

        Reply
    2. AF

      NO. And how do you even say “I’m uncomfortable with this.”???!!! You could say it, but then it makes them uncomfortable.

      Reply
  67. Rosamond

    So help me god, this was the norm when I worked at Major Research University. As someone commented upthread, it was expected as a cost-saving gesture when attending conferences for professional development. However, my colleague finally put her foot down about when we were sent on a required-for-work trip (rather than a professional development thing) and bed-sharing was implied. We still had to share a room, but got our own beds. She was my hero that day.

    I work at another research university now, not quite as major, and no one would dream of forcing us to share beds to save the university money.

    Reply
  68. Annie

    I tend to agree with Alison – get another room, even if you have to pay for it yourself. My husband’s company makes their employees share rooms when they have conferences (rarely) and my husband always pays for his own room because he will NOT share a room with a coworker.

    Reply
  69. De Minimis

    My org has a lot of conferences/meetings [mainly training/seminars for educators, which is what my org does] and we generally make the educators share rooms [or pay out of pocket for the extra cost for a single] but employees have single rooms covered. It’s my understanding in the past employees shared rooms [no bed sharing in either case, I assume]. But none of it is okay with me–people should be allowed their own space.

    Reply
  70. zora.dee

    Gah, this is horrifying.

    I thought mine was bad: I had to share hotel rooms on multiple work trips with my boss, (we were in separate beds) but she stayed up super late reading (personal reading, not work) every night, like until midnight, and then she LEFT THE LIGHTS ON in the room all night. The first trip when I realized I wasn’t asleep because the light was still on at 2am, and looked over and saw she was asleep. I went and turned the lights off. She got up 5 minutes later and turned them back on.

    …..

    I almost lost my mind on that first trip because I literally got <2 hours of sleep every night, and the meetings we had were very high-pressure and stressful and I was so completely sleep-deprived. And I was wearing an eye-mask! But multiple bright overhead lights on all night meant that I absolutely could not fall asleep, even with a sleep mask. And she was so difficult to work for, that I never could figure out how to talk to her about it.

    After 3 trips of complete sleepless misery, I started paying for my own AirBNB out of pocket on all trips, and lying to work telling them I was staying with a friend. And I feel like that pales in comparison to this letter-writer!! I so completely sympathize!

    Reply
    1. Emily

      Aaaaaahhh, that would drive me nuts! I would probably be ready to quit and/or murder my boss by the second or third night – I can’t imagine sticking that out for multiple trips.

      Reply
      1. zora.dee

        I’m not sure how I didn’t murder anyone, either. I think I was so exhausted that it just didn’t occur to me. I ended up spending sooo much of my own money over the next 4 years I was at that job on my own lodging. :o(

        Reply
  71. Corporate Drone

    This is horrible, and is indicative of bad management. If your employer cannot “afford” to pay for private hotel rooms for people traveling on business, then they cannot afford business travel. My sense is that managers who mandate this are not big picture thinkers.

    I have traveled on business throughout my entire career, and I have never, ever shared a hotel room–let alone a bed–with a coworker.

    Reply
    1. JM in England

      I completely concur!

      Although I’ve never travelled for work (to date), I strongly believe that everyone in a group needs a personal space (ie own room) where they can detach from business mode and thus de-stress completely………..

      Reply
  72. Kate

    I wonder if the LW works for the same non-profit that I did when I first got out of college. This was de rigueur for the group and was one of the main reasons why I left that place! What was most stunning was that my coworkers seemed fine with it and even told stories about waking up with someone they had never met in their bed. They thought it was funny.

    Reply
  73. Fifty and Forward

    Felt the need to comment on this. But I find that there are no words. I’d honestly be tempted to sue my employer.

    Reply
  74. Noah

    I cannot imagine being asked to share a bed with a coworker. I would flat out refuse.

    I’ve only shared a room with a coworker three times:
    1) During initial flight attendant training, we stayed at a hotel for 6 weeks. Two per hotel room, but we all had our own bed.
    2) Really bad weather in Dallas caused a flight to be cancelled once. I was traveling with a coworker and we could only find one hotel room nearby. It was one night and unexpected.
    3) Hotel overbooked during a conference. We arrived late at night, they only had one room instead of the two we booked. They tried to shift us to another local hotel, but couldn’t find anything with available rooms. We ended up sharing a room for that night and then to hotel had a room open up the next day.

    There is one company in my industry though that gives people a set amount per year to attend industry conferences. They always end up 4 to a room because they’re trying to save their allotment, but I assume they all agree to it.

    I have shared a large suite with separate bedrooms with coworkers before. That works out ok. We had a retreat at a resort one time that had a bunch of cottages with 2-3 bedrooms each. Not quite as much your own space, but at least you had a room and could close the door for the night.

    Reply
  75. Expat

    Bizarrely, this is considered totally normal at my job (European academia). I’d rather sleep on the floor. Or not sleep at all. Or amputate a toe. It mystifies me that I’m the weird one for feeling that way.

    Reply
    1. Expat

      Having read the other comments more thoroughly, yes, I agree it’s normal to share a room in academia. I’ll put up with that… Reluctantly. While I’m not surprised to hear that being *asked* to share a bed at a conference is not uncommon, what really bothers me at my job is that NO ONE HAS A PROBLEM WITH IT. Have they all lost their minds?! If all my digits were middle fingers, I still wouldn’t have enough!

      …sorry. This has been bothering me for years.

      Reply
  76. Biff Welly

    I have shared a room for work travel before, but never a bed. I wonder if OP didn’t think about ordering a rollaway bed? (or maybe there was not one available).

    I understand business travel is expensive, but if its a cost of doing business then the company needs to pay for it. Employee’s get inconvenienced (although I love business travel) and nickel and dimed.

    When I was working for a large bank, they changed their expense policy to not include lunch for business travel (the logic being that you were going to eat lunch anyway). Well of course….and breakfast and dinner, but I’m also not at home. I never quite got that policy change. (Everyone just over ordered at dinner to meet their per diem – so it didnt actually save any money.)

    Reply
  77. No Freaking Way!

    Many years ago, a for-profit company had us share rooms on a trip (about 20 of us went to a tradeshow) – it wouldn’t have been so bad, except they didn’t allow “friends” to bunk together as they wanted to make people mix and get to know others in the company. I ended up with someone I really didn’t like or trust.

    And, there was good reason to not like or trust this jerk. I totally flipped out when my “roomie” brought back someone he picked up in the bar at 2:30 in the morning.

    While I believe someone else sex life is their business; they have no right to make it mine.

    Also, “Are you trying to get us robbed!!!!” You don’t know her from Adam; and you’re bringing her back to MY room all drunk!

    My protests to the manager the next morning – I stayed in the lobby the rest of the night – fell on deaf ears. I didn’t stay with that company all that much longer (for other reasons, not just that)

    Reply
    1. Menacia

      Hell, I would have gotten up, pushed their drunk asses out the door and put on the deadbolt. No way, no how, not now, not ever.

      Reply
  78. MsChanandlerBong

    If this person’s coworkers had to sleep with me, they’d change their minds about how reasonable this practice is. Not only do I sometimes wake up screaming (seriously, the ceiling fan in my bedroom looks like a scary man to my half-asleep brain), but I’ve also been sweating so much at night that I am soaking the bed. No one would want to share a bed with me! But even if I didn’t do any of those things, I wouldn’t be able to sleep for fear that I would accidentally spoon my colleague.

    Reply
  79. Gaia

    I just had to explain to my employer that under absolutely no circumstances was I sharing a bed with a coworker on an upcoming trip to a major Asian city. We’ve never even had to share a room before so this came out of nowhere. Absolutely nope, no, nada, never.

    Reply
  80. Basiorana

    I once double checked that it was OK before I booked a king hotel room for a MARRIED couple to share…. It was a little awkward since I wanted to make it clear that I’d get them a double or pair them with others if they wanted but also didn’t want to imply there was anything wrong with their marriage.

    Reply
  81. One of the Annes

    Huh. I wouldn’t be thrilled but I guess I don’t see how sharing a double or queen bed with a coworker is that much worse than sharing a room. To me they’re basically equal in terms of suckiness. It doesn’t squick me out to think of !egads! sharing the same bed as a fellow-sex coworker. Am I just weird?

    Reply
    1. Expat

      And if your same-sex coworker was queer, would you still feel the same? Since you’re not ok with opposite sex bed sharing, I am guessing not.

      I say this as a queer woman myself. Some of the reasons being asked to share a bed bothers me so much include:

      A) It feels like erasure. It’s predicated on the assumption that two women sharing a bed will be straight.

      B) My coworkers suddenly get a lot less comfortable with the idea when they learn I’m queer. I get looks of revulsion at the thought of sharing a bed that no one else is getting. While I understand the sentiment, my refusal to share a bed applies to *everyone*. Their disgust applies only to me. That does not feel great.

      Reply
    2. One of the Annes

      Expat, I have lesbian coworkers and would not be any more bothered to have to share a bed with one of them than with any other female coworker. You make some big assumptions.

      Reply
        1. Anxa

          So, obviously this isn’t directed at me, but I thought segregated certain activities by gender had to do with factors other than sexual attraction or threat of sexual assault.

          I share the bathroom with lesbians and women who are attracted to women all of the time. I share a locker room with women who are attracted to women all of the time. I understand that a hotel room has more potential for a romantic or sexually charged environment than a bathroom.

          I’d feel more comfortable sharing a room with a non-friend woman than a non-friend man, regardless of sexual attraction, because I’m more used to sharing more private or intimate moments with women. I also feel more relaxed around women in general. Same with a bed.

          Reply
      1. Expat

        Annes, the first part of my comment was phrased as a question because I was genuinely curious about the answer. It was not intended as an accusation of homophobia, though I can see how it sounded that way. I still don’t get why you’re cool with lesbians but not cool with men, though.

        The second part of my comment reflects only my frustration with my coworkers, whose attitude *does* change from “totally normal” to “ewww gross” when the bedfellow isn’t straight. Like I said, I understand why that might be, but it still makes me feel like crap.

        Reply
  82. TootsNYC

    I was reading Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton.

    Apparently when the circuit court was, well, traveling the circuit, the lawyers who were working on cases traveled with it, and they all had to share beds in the inns. With lawyers they were arguing against in court.

    It’s highly likely that Alexander Hamilton had to share a bed with Aaron Burr at one point.

    Reply
    1. sam

      But back then I think “multiple people sharing beds” was just much more common – Beds themselves were a much greater luxury, so you’d have, like a bunch of kids all sharing one bed until they were too big to fit, and, of course, entire families just lived in one room.

      And let’s not forget the plumbing and bathing situation (or lack thereof).

      Reply
  83. Toronto Terri

    I am a terrible snorer. I’m currently being tested for sleep apnea. The prospect of sharing a room would stress me out to the point of making my nauseous never mind sharing a bed. Knowing I was disturbing a colleagues sleep means I would not sleep throughout the duration of the trip.

    I feel lucky now that my employer would never ask this of us.

    Nope. No way. No.

    Reply
    1. Anxa

      I was just thinking about this.

      I don’t typically fall asleep until after 3:30 am. Sometimes not until the sun comes up. I used to think of it as a given that I’d just kind of sit and stare at the ceiling for a couple hours, but now…at the risk of TMI…have to pee more through the night until I fall asleep. I’d be getting up every half hour to pee until I fall asleep; that would be highly disruptive. Also, I’d be kind of annoyed if I planned to sleep from 5-8 and someone’s alarm went off at 6. Yikes.

      Reply
      1. TootsNYC

        oh, that happened at a women’s retreat for church!
        There were about 8, maybe 10, of us staying in a 2BR condo. I had a cot in the living room. The people in the bedrooms went to bed first, and I had to wait for them to be done in the bathroom.

        Then, the place needed to be cleaned (why it took very long, I don’t know, bcs we weren’t there much), and the people in the bedrooms got up at 6am to do it. To run the vacuum cleaner.

        I was SO very pissed. And I never went back to that retreat again. Once they shifted to a different location, I was OK w/ it. (And we share a room there.)

        Reply
  84. Audiophile

    Never Again, Holy Hell, No, Never Again

    I feel like there’s some epic stories to go along with this sound reasoning.

    Reply
    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      Ha, if there are, I’ve repressed them. I actually have a vague memory of kind of enjoying it at the time — I was young and room-sharing with similarly young people, and often they were work friends, and for me at least that was still an age was the whole thing was a fun adventure.

      But now, at my cranky advanced old age, I would rather be roasted over a spit and slowly eaten by wolves.

      Reply
  85. Kate

    Just wanted to add a response to say that this is not normal in all academic fields. I’m in academia (public health) and we do not share rooms (unless you’re a student – then it’s fairly normal). The exception is some field visits – depending on the site and conditions I have slept in schools, health centers, etc., and then you are generally all sleeping in the same space. But if there is hotel-style accommodation available (and they have enough rooms), you get your own room.
    We are almost entirely grant funded, so maybe that makes a difference. We work incredibly intensely when we travel and having a private space to work and recuperate is really important.

    Reply
  86. Annie Moose

    I’ve shared beds before on mission trips, but that was pretty much par for the course–no one had any money, we were in Mexico anyway, you just sucked it up and did it. But that’s a very different social relationship than with a coworker (or–shudder–your boss). And we could always request room assignments, or ask for a room by ourselves if we were willing to pay for it.

    The idea that you’d be FORCED to share a room with a coworker, though?? Nope nope nope.

    Reply
  87. Clever Name

    I had to share a bed with a coworker I had known for approximately 20 hours. I started my first job out of college (in academia) on a Thursday, we had a half day on Friday, and then Sunday afternoon we left for an out of town team retreat. We rented a studio on a lake. I had to share a double bed with a coworker. I warned her before we went to bed that I sometimes talk in my sleep. Well, apparently I did more than just talk-she told me the next morning that I rolled over, rubbed her belly, and said, “Come here!” (in a tone like you might use with a dog) repeatedly. She took it in stride and we are still friends to this day, but it was awkward! This same coworker and I also had to share a pull out bed in a hotel room at a conference while our boss and another coworker each had their own queen bed in the suite we were in.

    I also went through a period of time where I was prone to night terrors. I went on a trip with coworkers to a former coworker’s wedding. Because we were cheap, we decided to share one room (4 girls, 1 guy, 2 girls to each bed and the guy on the floor). I actually had a night terror-I sat straight up in my sleep and started screaming. It obviously scared the shit out of my coworkers. One of them told me later that she thought I was possessed. So that was fun…

    Reply
  88. irene

    oh my god so many stories here are absolutely terrifying to me. it was suggested that i would be sent to conferences if i got a certain promotion, and i now know to be very particular in any questions i ask about accommodations if that happens.

    i went on vacation with my mom for mother’s day and i couldn’t even handle sharing a room with her. we turned the a/c and fan on really loud and i still woke up with every slight movement she made (much less people walking down the hall or upstairs of our room). by the 3rd morning, as soon as it was late enough to be reasonable, i grouched at her to just get out of bed and go to breakfast so i could finally get an hour of sleep. (and then felt awful for being so mean to my mom on mother’s day!)

    hell, i don’t even sleep well when sharing a HOUSE with family members. my bedroom and the spare room have the bathroom in between, and even with all the white noise i can create, i still wake up any time the person in the spare room coughs or opens the door or switches on the hall light or… and this is with longterm guests, like when my sister stayed with me for a year in between school and moving to a new city. I used to share a bedroom with her and another sister, but I recall that was my first and only experience with insomnia.

    Reply
  89. Chocolate Coffeepot

    Oh, the memories!

    I slept with my boss once. It was awful.

    Four of us (all women) went to a conference. We worked at a small & under-budgeted public library, and travel money was tight. The director reserved one hotel room. And she kept it a secret until it was too late to reserve another room in a decent hotel anywhere in town (or the rest of us would have split the cost of another room ourselves). Four women, two beds, one bath.

    We kept short pencils at the circ desk to give to patrons, and the thre of us used the pencils to “draw straws” to decide which of us had to share a bed with the boss. I lost.

    The whole thing was a disaster, actually. The director didn’t want us to spend any money on food, for example. She kept saying that we could eat at the vendor receptions. Some of them did have good food, but one night there was just a giant bowl of fruit. Uh, that’s not my definition of “dinner”!

    It makes a funny story now, but it was an unpleasant experience at the time. P.S. I don’t work there anymore; I work for a reasonable employer who sometimes insists that we share rooms when we travel, but never beds. ;)

    Reply
  90. Louise

    I’m an interpreter and recently had my first assignment with a new client, an NGO. They had me share a hotel room with a senior delegate. It was really awkward. Usually with these kinds of organizations interpreters share amongst themselves, which is still annoying but slightly better – at least you’re not in that intimate space with the client. I’m definitely going to make sure it doesn’t happen again next time. I feel for the OP!

    Reply
  91. arvil

    It’s happened to me! I had to share a double bed with my Boss for a mandatory 3 night meeting abroad. Our for-profit company usually makes us room share, which is bad enough – especially as I often ended up sharing rooms with colleagues from other departments that I had never met before.
    But nope, on this occasion it was just the one bed between the two of us. Plus, my boss was heavily pregnant at the time, so things were pretty cozy.

    Oh also, the hotel had quite a modern and minimalist style of decor and the en-suite bathroom walls were made of lightly frosted glass, such that you could see a clear outline of anyone taking a shower or sitting on the toilet.. I left the room whenever my boss was using the facilities, but she was happy to stay put while I showered, with the assurance that she would look in the other direction…

    It was a stressful trip!

    Reply
  92. Bag of Jedi Mind Tricks

    @OP: Ok, maybe I missed something, but why were you all even required to share a room?? Where I work, we have employees travel all the time. Never, ever have they been required to share a room. We will book them in different hotels if it’s not possible for them to stay at the same hotel (due to availability). But to have them share a room (and share a bed)–No Way. I can only imagine how much the dynamic of your work relationship with these people has changed since this trip. Wow!

    Reply
    1. OP

      What Wanderingdev said. I will say that, thankfully, the sleeping part of it did not impact our work relationship. We managed to keep our kicks, wandering hands, farts, night terror screams, and offensive talking in our sleep to ourselves, somehow. Or at least, Coworker was gracious enough to not further embarrass me by saying that I had done any of that.

      …But maybe I won’t give that reassurance when I bring this up with Boss…

      Reply
  93. STX

    I just remembered that at my last job, they would not even let employees share separate rooms w/ private bathrooms in a condo when we’d travel long-term. They also requested that hotel staff book employees on separate floors or separate wings when possible so that we would not have rooms near to each other. At first I was offended, like did they think we were all having affairs? But it was really nice to have some separation from coworkers at the end of a long work day.

    Reply
  94. Althea

    I shared a bed with a coworker once, though it was my fault. We had a full day in Turkey on the way elsewhere, so I booked 1 room. It was called a “double” and I didn’t check that the term meant 1 double bed, not 2 beds. When we arrived they were completely booked, so we couldn’t switch to a room with 2 beds unless we wanted to find a new hotel. My coworker said we could just share, she was ok if I was. So that’s what we did, and it was fine, but I was embarrassed to have put us both in the situation. :(

    Reply
  95. Wanderingdev

    Nope nope nope! Even sharing the room I don’t like. When I worked at a non profit I was told I’d have to share for 5 days with a co-worker during a conference. I am an introvert as it is, and the conference we were attending was something I knew would have me stressed out. I would have been insane after 5 days of networking with no private time in the evenings. So, I found out the hotel budget for the trip and hopped online. 30 minutes later I had 4 separate rooms booked at the same hotel for the same price as we were going to pay for 2, so we all got separate rooms. My boss tried to push for canceling the 2 rooms so we would still be sharing but at a lower cost, but I put the kibosh on that right quick!

    Reply
  96. Lou

    I’m in Tourism and it seems that sharing a room is expected – I certainly keep my fingers crossed for my own room at check in but if I get it, I consider it a pleasant surprise. This includes having to share rooms with strangers. One of my colleagues has had to share a bed with a stranger when doing a famils at a romantic destination where twin beds weren’t in any rooms. Generally these hotels are providing the rooms FOC or at a heavily reduced rate.
    In general, famils are seen as a lot of work but also a lot of fun and entirely voluntary. Most people who work in the industry see it as the perk to make up for a low wage.
    My company organises famils and if someone asked for a private room, we’d do our best to accommodate it, but it isn’t a guarantee.
    I guess the fact that it’s seen as a perk rather than something I’m forced to do makes it different?

    Reply
  97. NoTurnover

    Very late but horrifying enough to share…

    When I was in EIGHTH GRADE, my math team traveled to the state competitions and stayed in a hotel overnight. The others on the team were boys, so I had to share with our coach, a female teacher.

    I think we shared a bed. So many years later I would not swear to it, but that’s what I remember. It was in Europe, too, so at best it was a smallish hotel room with two beds.

    I do know it was intensely awkward and that someone should have thought better of having a 14-year-old share a room with an adult!

    Reply
  98. MJ

    WOW. I don’t know if I’m glad or sad that I’ve run across this thread. I’m 53 years old, have been in sales for most of my career, either as an employee or 1099 contract. I joined a new organization last year and was promptly appalled that I was asked to share a room with a complete stranger (another salesperson, a woman) who I did NOT know. The whole sales staff is in their 40’s and up. Only one other time did I share a room with a colleague during a sales meeting but we were in a townhouse type resort room so we each had our own bedroom and bathroom, but even that FREAKED me out, and that was 10 years ago. Ironically, my company did it again this year even though I requested separate accommodations, and of course this was after they switched the rest of the sales staff to 1099 status thereby saving even more money on operations. One would have thought that an annual sales meeting and client conference would be the time to ensure everyone is rested with their own room. This is one of many reasons why I’m now on a job search. YIKES!!!

    Reply
  99. MissDisplaced

    Oh. The. Living. Horror. 3x to a room.
    I mean, yeah, if you had some weird emergency situation like a snowstorm, cancelled flight, or just overbooked hotel due to some huge mess-up yeah sure it won’t kill for a night. But this should not be the norm, I’m sorry.

    Reply
  100. Concerned Worker

    I am about to have a room sharing issue as well.. I don’t mind sharing a room with a co-worker of the same sex, but this time I’m being expected to share a room with a male co-worker. The company doesn’t see it as a problem if the room has 2 singles, but I have a bit of an issue with the fact that my co-worker is only 18 – half my age. If I was also 18, I probably wouldn’t have an issue, but I’m not 18 anymore. I’m also too late to walk away, because its an out of town gig, and there was 5 of us initially (4 Females, 1 Male) – so 2 rooms were booked, but one female leaves this weekend and that means the male has to share with someone.. now stuck as not sure what to do! :(

    Reply
  101. j106

    HA! My company does this but it’s even better – only women have to share rooms. The men all get their own private room, while all of the women have to share rooms – and it has happened that those rooms are booked with only one bed. I really think the CEO fantasizes about all the little women all hunkered down for a slumber party, doing each other’s hair and pillow fightin’. gag..

    Reply
  102. Vicki

    The OP writes:

    “when I made a comment about it just as an aside to my coworker, Coworker replied wondering why bed-sharing was a problem, …. My manager never made any comment about the room or beds, either, and I suspect that they saw nothing wrong with the arrangement.”

    Well then. If this ever occurs again, co-worker and manager share the bed. You do not.
    Problem solved.

    In the meantime… you might want to find ways to ensure that this Never Happens Again.

    Many hotels can bring in a cot. As the senior person, and the person who handles the budget and the credit card, the manager, of course, gets the cot.

    Reply
  103. E.P.

    I would start looking for employment elsewhere and as quickly as possible get a firm job offer set in place then inform these idiots that due to their hotel room bed sharing practices I no longer feel they represent me their employee in an acceptable professional employer for my resume.

    WHY?

    BC this ain’t just wrong or even unacceptable.
    IT’S THE MOST EGREGIOUS MIND NUMBING OFFENSIVE EMPLOYER EMPLOYEE ABUSE I’VE EVER HEARD OF BAR NONE.

    I wouldn’t do that EVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES & A EMPLOYER WHO WOULD DON’T DESERVE TO BE TREATED LIKE THEY’RE PROFESSIONALS.
    CAUSE THEY AIN’T.

    I’d’ve gotten another room there or another hotel and charged it to the employers and if they complained one iota and didn’t apologize profusely I’d’ve quit on the spot.

    Reply
  104. Jenny

    I would never share a bed. At my sister’s first job out of college, she had to share a bed on a work trip and the girl tried to hook up with her in the middle of the night. My sister did not think much about sharing a bed at first because her co-worker was very vocal about having a boyfriend. Until the girl became extremely pushy in the middle of the night. My sister was extremely uncomfortable and upset. It is completely inappropriate for a company to expect coworkers to share a bed.

    Reply
  105. Jamie

    It never occurred to me someone would ever have this issue. I’ve always assumed a person only shared a bed with someone they work with when they’re *ahem* ‘working hard for that promotion’.

    Reply
  106. Q.E.D.

    My very first job out of college, less than 5 years ago, I was working for a state office of a national nonprofit–probably under the same umbrella as Leatherwings mentioned upthread. I was required, as my first week of work, to attend a week+ long “training” in Boston (not where I was based) with all my colleagues from the state offices across the country. The training was at a hotel, and I contacted my boss ahead of time to ask about my travel budget, and he didn’t mention anything about accommodations.
    So I arrive at the hotel in the evening, am given a room key, go up to my room–and there are two other young women already in it. On the two full beds. Surprise! Turned out, there were 4 of us assigned to that room, and yes, we were expected to share beds. I happen to be a light sleeper and I don’t do well with sharing beds. One of the other women kicked in her sleep. I called down to the front desk for a cot, they brought one up, and I and the other “difficult sleeper” traded off nights in the bed and the cot. The other two shared the other bed. It was ridiculous. I later learned that this was the norm at this organization, and that “even senior staff do it, it’s fun!”.

    For all those wondering, I quit within a few months–after a mandated trip to DC where I stayed with relatives because the org wasn’t paying for hotels (the option they gave was to stay at someone in the DC office’s place–a stranger) and their refusing to reimburse me for my travel for the Boston trip.

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  107. Al who is that Al

    The reader doesn’t say what gender they are, personally as a bloke I would be very tempted in the next meeting to ask if I could buy condoms on expenses since we were bed sharing or room sharing. After the shocked silence, I would then follow up with the question that if you saw two people with suitcases checking into a hotel room what would you think their relationship was ?
    And I am shocked myself by people saying that in non-profits this is a common practice. Common maybe, but that does not mean it is right. It is a gross violation of the person’s rights. What would happen if your female/male partner was told they were sharing a room with someone else ? I would not put my partner in that sort of danger.

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