can training be mandatory if it requires a 3-night stay out of town?

A reader writes:

There is a 3-day-long training course I’d like my whole team to attend, and the company has offered to pay in full for the course fees, travel expenses, and the employees’ time. However, as the training is some 200 miles away from the city where the company is based, those attending the training will be unable to return home until the end of the course and will stay overnight in a hotel.

Since the company is paying for everything, including all meals and hotel bills, there has been no objection from most of my team; they see it as a rare opportunity to develop their skills without having to pay for anything themselves and appreciate the company’s investment in their careers. However, a couple of my team have expressed reservations, saying that they would miss out on their social lives during the evenings they are away from home. When asked if they had prior engagements, they said they had nothing planned in advance (the training event is in 4 months’ time, which I thought was plenty of notice for them), but were concerned “in case something comes up” without giving examples of such circumstances.

I have been told by management that my entire team must attend if we’re to receive the funding. Even if employees are compensated in full for their time and the costs for the entire course and living expenses are covered by the company, is it legal to make training mandatory when it’s out of town and requires attendees to be away from home overnight?

It’s not so much a matter of overtime compensation (being exempt, this is an unlikely option anyway), so much as the idea of what they appear to think of as a 3-day job assignment where you’re unable to return home outside of your working hours. Is it unreasonable of me to expect that everyone partakes in this training course, given the 4 months’ notice of the event, that none of my team have dependents or pets to make alternative care arrangements for, and that it’s entirely free?

Honestly, it really is a great course that the rest of us are stoked for and are genuinely appreciative of the company for offering us this opportunity to learn a new skill on their dime, which is why I’m especially bemused at a few people’s reluctance.

What! No, two nights on a one-time business trip is not an unusual or unreasonable expectation, particularly when it sounds like people are never asked to travel otherwise.

I mean, don’t get me wrong — plenty of people dislike having to travel for work and spend the night somewhere other than their own home. And that’s perfectly reasonable; people are allowed not to love business travel. But for most adults, not loving it doesn’t equate to not doing it when it’s requested, especially when it’s a rare request.

And yeah, it’s both legal and reasonable for you to tell them that this is required training and they have to go.

If they hadn’t explained their opposition to you, it would be sensible to inquire into what was behind it, to ensure that there wasn’t real hardship in play (for instance, a medical condition that made it hard for them to travel). But their explanation that they might miss out on social engagements — social engagements that don’t even exist yet! — doesn’t cut it, not by a long shot.

If there’s a business reason for wanting them there, you’re well within your rights — legally, ethically, spiritually, and all else — to tell them it’s part of the job.

{ 429 comments… read them below }

  1. Anonymous*

    The thing I hate about trips like this is having four people in a room with two beds. I would prefer not to cuddle my coworkers.

        1. AnonK*

          Bless you. That’s always been my worse nightmare.

          I only had to work for one company that did that, and I was always the only female traveling, so I was exempt.

        2. Windchime*

          Yeah, I had a cheap boss who used to insist on this. Gross. I am not even crazy about sharing a room, and my current employer doesn’t expect us to (although I would do it if necessary). But a bed? Nope. I went on a business trip with two other women and there was only one room. I claimed one bed and they had to share the other.

      1. Victoria Nonprofit*

        Agreed. I’m a pretty big pushover over this sort of thing, but this is enough that I would put my foot firmly down.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I think it’s absolutely reasonable to put your foot down over a shared bed situation. You should say, “I’m sorry, but that’s not something I’m comfortable with.”

    2. JoAnna*

      I would bring my own sleeping bag or air mattress and bunk on the floor before I shared a bed with a co-worker. Or I’d pay out of pocket for a rollaway bed. Ugh.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I went on a work trip once and had to sleep on a hide-a-bed. My coworker got the big bed (she outranked me). It didn’t bother me too much, because I had my own bed, such as it was. And we were BFFs as kids in high school, so we had had many sleepovers. We laughed about how it was like old times.

          I did have to share a bed on a school trip to DC. That sucked, but the worst part about it was that the beds were rock hard and NOBODY got any sleep. Well, that and the fact that we partied almost the entire night….

    3. Jamie*

      Wow – it’s already been said – but sharing beds? I will always be shocked at what some companies think it’s okay to ask.

      I am aware not everyone finds sharing rooms as horrific as I do, but I would draw my line in the sand over that, too. Total deal breaker.

      1. Lamington*

        My friend (female) at the time was single and on business trips, her boss asked her several times to share the room and get 2 beds so it would be cheaper. She always refused and had to pay extra for her own room. She no longer works there.

          1. RobM*

            Maybe it’s a cultural thing (I’m in the UK and I think most people here are US) but I would regard sharing a room with a colleague on a business trip as totally unreasonable.

            1. Kassy*

              I’m in the US and employed by a state government. Sharing rooms is pretty much expected (sharing beds, not so much, because sexual harassment lawsuits). Paying for private rooms for employees would lead to OMG WASTE OF TAXPAYER MONEY.

              1. RobM*

                I work in the govt. education sector here in the UK so again, taxpayer money. I’d still expect to have my own hotel room, just to be frugal about what kind of room it is.

                Nickel and diming people on things like this which sap their productivity/concentration and thereby the usefulness of traveling in the first place seems very short sighted to me.

            1. Penny*

              I would consider calling the labor board on any superior pressuring me to stay in a room with him, regardless of presentation/excuse, it is harassment. Especially in a case where she is then penalized with the cost(that would have been covered had she stayed with him) for refusing to share a room with her male boss.

    4. Emily K*

      Holy crap. I worked for about as tiny of a nonprofit as they come (4 staff members, $500k a year budget) and even we got our own beds! 3/4 of us were female so when all four of us traveled, the lone male got his own room, and typically the female head of the org got her own room while I shared a room with the other female who was a peer to me in the org. (But if the head of the org traveled with just one of the other women, or when we were able to get a suite-style hotel with three or more beds, she shared a room just like we did.) But we always had our own beds!!! Dang.

      1. Chinook*

        Absolutely, genders should be separated if room sharing is required. Heck, I went on pilgrimage on a shoe string (I.e. Accommodations were donated) with 3 other women and a man (who was also a priest). It was a given that he got his own room when one was available and, when we slept outside, he got the end (and I got voted to sleep next to him as I was closest in age (the others were early 20’s, I was late 20’s as was the priest.) I have never been anywhere, whether it be family, work or school, where room sharing always meant a girl’s room and a boy’s room.

    5. Ann Furthermore*

      My skin has crawled all the way off my body at the thought of this. OMG. OMG. AARRRGHHH!

    6. Bagworm*

      The worst for me was when I had to share a bed with someone from a partner organization…in another city…who I had never met or even spoken to before.

    7. Ann O'Nemity*

      Ugh, this happened to me once. I was working for a public university. A group of about 10 of us went to a conference and we were required to share rooms. When we showed up to the hotel (late), there weren’t enough available rooms with double beds, despite our reservations. That means several of us were required to share king beds. Thankfully, I was able to share with someone I was actually friendly with. I do remember that one of the men absolutely refused to share a bed and took off in a huff.

      1. Jessa*

        If there’s absolutely no choice one thing I will do is make them send up a separate blanket. At least I’d be wrapped up in my OWN space, not able to actually be in contact with the other person.

      2. Cassie*

        I would have separated the bed – the coworker can take the mattress, I’ll take the box spring. Sleeping on a box spring would not be ideal, but it’s hecka lot better than sharing a bed with a coworker.

  2. Lucy*

    I have an event this weekend for work. I’ll be working 3 days straight, including Saturday… it’s in town, but I’ll be headed home at 2am and back at work at 8. We’re not even getting so much as a comp day for it AND it has nothing to do with professional development.

    Yeah, I hate it. But it’s part of the job and it only happens twice a year. I deal.

  3. BCW*

    I’d come at this a bit different. I have no problem travelling on occasion for work. However, when I took the job, I was told there would be travel involved at times. Was this told to the people in advance? If it was stated that there may be occasional travel, then yes, I think its fine. If, at the time of hire, you said there is no travel related to this job, well yes you can still make them go, but I give them a bit more leeway on not wanting to go.

    1. Jen in RO*

      I don’t even think this qualifies as “occasional” travel. It sounds like a one-time deal, and a night in the hotel is nothing in the grand scheme of things.

      1. KellyK*

        That’s true. I do think that if someone made it clear when they were hired that they weren’t able to travel at all, or was told there was absolutely no travel, it would be reasonable to let them out of it or offer some accommodations that you normally wouldn’t to make it doable for them.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I think you can get away with that when you’re past a certain point in your career (or have really in-demand skills) and are known to be awesome at what you do.

          I don’t think it would go over well if you weren’t in that category, although I’d be fascinated to hear from anyone with a different experience!

          1. GeekChic*

            I’ve always had travel restrictions – even very early in my current career (and my earlier career). Any overnight travel was subject to my doctors’ approval and that often wasn’t forthcoming.

            I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I’ve traveled overnight in the past 20 years. And this in jobs that do expect it (due to training, conferences, on-site support requirements, etc.).

            How does it work?:

            – I’ve only attended one conference in my working career but I read / watch the presentations afterward and phone / email the presenters to pick their brains when I can’t go in person.

            – I don’t do on-site training (either as an attendee or as a trainer). I conduct training over video conference / WebEx or even the phone. I attend training sessions in a similar fashion.

            – On-site support is handled either through remote access or (rarely) colleagues.

            In all cases my employers knew about the travel restrictions prior to hire and this was seen as a reasonable accommodation to medical needs. Are their clients that don’t like the fact that I can’t travel (especially for support)? Yup. My employers and I are always very clear that my traveling is not an option.

              1. GeekChic*

                Oh, I agree. That said, it has been kind of amusing dealing with a fair number of people who seem deeply puzzled by the inability to travel.

                “But surely you went to XYZ conference?” Nope. Can’t travel.

                “We only offer on-site training sessions.” And how to you accommodate people who can’t travel to you for medical reasons? “Er… never had to…?”

                “But can’t you just come and train us directly?” Nope.

          2. meh*

            I think that childcare constraints are a pretty good exception to traveling. Many single parents are basically unable to travel, and travel can be quite hard for nursing mothers, even if they have a supportive spouse.

            1. Chinook*

              But “nursing mother” would also fall under medical reasons because it involves body fluids? Even if the child was bottle fed for the weekend, going the weekend without feeding could be painful and/or messy for the mother as well as hurt milk production.

        2. Mena*

          So it could be a job breaker for you (meaning that you could be without a job because of this firm position).

    2. MissDisplaced*

      It sounds like they’re getting plenty of notice and that travel is not typical for them. Honestly, I can’t understand the pushback.

    3. Jessa*

      I think this is a one time training thing, not generalised travel for work. I don’t think a once in a blue moon thing needs to be mentioned at hire. They might not even have known when the person was hired that this unusual opportunity could be funded.

      1. KellyK*

        No, I don’t think it’s the sort of thing that could or should be mentioned at hire—just that if the person was told at hire that there was no travel, or they made it clear that they weren’t able to travel, their being upset becomes much more understandable.

        1. Mander*

          I agree, but in this case it sounds like the employees just don’t want to go because it might upset a hypothetical social event. If they were unable to travel for health or family reasons, that would be fine in my opinion. And I would include in “health” something like having a phobia of some aspect of travel. Or if there was a significant event planned in advance, like a wedding or something, that could be negotiated.

          But mere “I don’t wanna!” doesn’t cut it, in my view.

  4. thenoiseinspace*

    My instinct is that there’s something else going on here that the employees don’t feel comfortable talking to OP about. Maybe a coworker gets inappropriate when he drinks and they don’t want to be in a situation where they’d have to hang out at a bar or restaurant with him for three nights; maybe they don’t feel comfortable sharing rooms; maybe there’s a major event coming up that they were all planning on taking off work for, like taking sick leave to go to a concert – who knows. It could be any number of things, but I doubt it’s just “I don’t feel like going.”

    That said, if they aren’t willing to bring it forth, there’s really not a whole lot OP can do about it. I would be interested to see if some of these employees suddenly all have a wedding to attend that weekend.

    1. Lucy*

      I don’t know. Social Obligations is such a lame excuse I think it HAS to be true. I feel like they would have come up with something better, like a preplanned vacation or family in town.

      1. WM*

        I would wonder if these one or two people who mentioned these unknown social engagements actually know that they’ll be gone by then (if they are planning to leave), or something along those lines. Meaning – they know they won’t be available to go, but can’t quite say why yet. So they came up with the lamest reason ever.

          1. Jen*

            I’m making up loads of scenarios now that maybe they have some sort of criminal restriction about leaving the state, or restraining orders against them by people in the city the training’s taking place.

        1. AnonK*

          I had an employee use the potential social obligation excuse on me a number of years ago when I was trying to send him to a very prestigious and expensive conference as a reward for high performance. I was a little bit taken aback, but didn’t push it. I just went to the next name on my list, who jumped at the opportunity.

          Later that year during our review, the first employee expressed anger and disappointment that he never gets recognized. I suppressed my desire to sigh deeply and roll my eyes, but I did point out that he WAS being recognized and rewarded with this conference but he didn’t want to do it – his choice. He refused to accept this and continued to lay out arguments as to why he was the victim. I can’t remember what transpired over the next few months, but as time progressed, he felt more comfortable communicating with me. I never put him in a position to travel again, because of the amount of drama he raised. He FINALLY confided to me that no, he still didn’t want to travel, but his “social obligations” were that he was uncomfortable working out in a hotel gym. He just HAD to work out on his own treadmill every morning.

          I couldn’t make this stuff up. There are some seriously strange people out there.

          1. CAA*

            So travel wasn’t an appropriate way to reward this particular employee. That doesn’t make him wrong, just different from you. You learned from this and didn’t offer him travel as a reward again.

            People place different value on different rewards. Some put great importance on having the right title; some need a bonus to feel valued; others really crave that public praise at an all-hands meeting. Personally, I don’t care a whit about my title and I cringe at the thought of being praised in front of the whole company. I’ll take the bonus, but it’s not necessary. The best reward for me is knowing I have the trust of management and some autonomy to make decisions. A quiet “thanks” now and then so I know somebody has noticed when I’ve put in an extra effort is also quite nice.

            I think it’s part of a manager’s job to get to know his or her people well enough to understand what makes a good reward for each person.

            1. AnonK*

              Yep, what I didn’t add in here were other things I did to reward him in the future because that wasn’t the point of the story. I actually learned more from him than anyone else I ever managed, because he was able to turn everything into a personal attack on him (seriously, he was upset that a young pretty girl was friendly and said “hello” to him in the morning…. he couldn’t fathom that people are just friendly and she was only talking to him because she wanted something). I did a case study on a coaching session I had with him when I was working on my MBA that the professor still uses to this very day. He was very unique and helped me grow much. That being said, I would never willingly manage him again :)

              The point was he had VERY odd reasons for not wanting to travel and wouldn’t articulate it. If it wasn’t optional travel, like in the case of the letter writer, I would have been inclined to say, SUCK IT UP!

          2. Jeff A.*

            I spent years working for a manager who never understood why I didn’t consider travel assignments a “reward.”

            I work very hard at work. I also work equally as hard at making my life outside my work as close to my ideal as possible. My ideal life doesn’t involve being stranded out of town away from the life I’ve crafted in my hometown. That makes some people “seriously strange”?

            Maybe this employee is a hardcore Crossfitter and/or training for a strength competition. Just because it’s not a reasonable concern to you doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter to the employee.

            1. AnonK*

              No, I’ll stand by my assessment. Not wanting to use a different treadmill IS seriously strange. And that was what it was. He didn’t think other treadmills were “in tune” with him. Direct quote. Not an athlete or anyone who competes. Just someone who has a very specific set of creature comforts and uses those a reason to stay as close to home as possible. By the way, you can get a good crossfit workout in a hotel gym. I do it every time I travel. But, I digress. He didn’t want to go so I never asked him again.

              Everyone likes to be recognized in different ways. And not everyone likes travel as an award. But not liking the award doesn’t negate the fact that the award was offered. Me, personally, rather than kudos or company t-shirts or picnics, I wish that I just received monetary compensation. That doesn’t happen, so I accept it as it is. That t-shirt says to me, “My boss would’ve liked to have given me a raise, so that’s good enough”.

            2. Bea W*

              Strange, no. Rigid, yes. I’m all for crafting one’s ideal life, but “poop happens”. If a person can’t deal with a planned and very temporary change, I question how do they cope with things going randomly awry in real life. Everyone’s different, but if I tried to tightly control everything in my life so that it was always ideal I’d be way too stressed out to do anything else.

              My ideal life doesn’t involve commuting delays or cancelled trains, people trying to squish in 3 meetings back to back, or the stomach flu but unless I never want to leave my house, I’m SOL there. Poop happens.

              1. Anna*

                Exactly. Plus it makes me wonder if you’re that inflexible in this matter, what other ways are you inflexible and will it cause problems?

              2. Musereader*

                My Brother is diagosed with Aspergers and totally freaked out when sent to a youth conference. He is unable to deal when things go different to plan, he needs precise instructions on travel including explicit instructions as to what to if a bus is missed and will melt down if anything unexpected happens, he would have this kind of reason for something like this. ASD people are inflexible like this

                1. Mander*

                  My husband has Asperger’s, too, and although fortunately for him it is relatively mild he does have a tendency to freak out when plans go awry. But in your brother’s case I would classify this as “unable to travel for health reasons” and make other arrangements. That is a perfectly acceptable reason for not wanting to travel, in my book.

          3. AdAgencyChick*

            I hate, hate, hate hotel gyms. I lift weights, and there is never, ever a barbell to be found.

            That being said, if I used that as an excuse not to travel, I’d be laughed out of a job.

            1. class factotum*

              It depends to where. I had to go to Dubai twice last year and it was torture. I was supposed to go to Sydney next month but the trip was cancelled, much to my dismay.

            2. Bwmn*

              I’ve been reading a lot of responses about why people might not want to go – but I’m wondering if they’re aware of the fact that if everyone doesn’t go, then no one can. In the sense that maybe they think it’s optional.

              It may be a case that the training opportunity just doesn’t have the same benefit for all employees. So some of those balking may just be thinking “I see how x, y, and z will get a lot out of this – but this is just 3 days of me getting behind in work”. However, if they know that it’s an option for everyone or no one then there may be a greater sense of contributing to the team.

            3. Windchime*

              I feel like the odd one out, but I don’t mind traveling for work. Usually it’s just for training. Last year was a big year for me an I went to San Francisco and Washington, DC. Both were places I’d never been and I liked them both. Oh, and Seattle but that doesn’t count because I can sleep in my own bed when I go to conferences there.

            4. RobM*

              I would consider travelling for work to be, well, work. No more and no less.

              Some travel for work might be more pleasant than other travel for work just like some work tasks within the office might be more enjoyable than others, but I’d certainly question anyone who thought it was a reward.

            5. Penny*

              Agreed! A work conference sounds like a self gratifying “gift” for a boss to present to an employee. It sounds more like a nice business opportunity, but not a gift. A gift would be a certificate for a nice dinner, or spa day for the employee and spouse/guest.

          4. College Career Counselor*

            You worked with Sheldon Cooper!?

            That said, some employees are not comfortable with certain kinds of recognition (public praise, conference travel, etc.). I’m not saying this employee’s reason is valid (must work out on the home treadmill!), but it’s useful to remember that “recognition” is not a one-size-fits-all thing.

        2. Sadsack*

          If I were planning on leaving my job, either in the just-looking stage or in the process of negotiating an offer, I would just proceed as normal at my current job and act like I am going to the training. If it turns out that I leave the company before then, so what? I am doubting that this is the reason these people made up stupid excuses, but I guess it is possible.

      2. Sarah*

        My thought was that it was going to be on a weekend. Op should consider giving two days lieu time.

    2. Lanya*

      When I was asked to go on a 3-day overnight training trip, I did not want to go because I did not care much for my co-workers (mostly catty, disingenuous bullies). The last thing I wanted to do was spend all of that time pretending I was enjoying their company. So, maybe the social aspect has something to do with it.

    3. AB*

      By social engagements, perhaps the OP simply means non-work engagements. For example, if you are a single parent with small children, you might have difficulty getting away for three days (esp since these are clearly roles that do not otherwise require travel). I can completely understand the hesitancy there.
      I had a co-worker in that situation once. They took a role that promised no travel, evenings or weekends (with the exception of work that could be done at home). Then they wanted to send her on a two day training course and she refused because she was a single mom to a toddler and didn’t have family living in state that the kid could stay with.

      1. Del*

        Yeah, but one would think you’d lay that out. “I can’t leave my child(ren) for that long, and a round-the-clock babysitter is out of my budget” is a lot more compelling than “I may or may not have social obligations of an unspecified nature.”

        1. AB*

          We don’t know what they actually said. The OP didn’t say exactly what their reasons were, only paraphrased that they were concerned about their social lives after work. While I generally take the OP’s at their word, it would be far to weird for more than one person to use “social lives” as an excuse for not wanting to go on a business trip. I feel like something was left out.

          1. some1*

            As someone with no kids, I disagree. When have you ever heard a parent describe caring for their child(ren) as a “social obligation”?

            If it it was something like having to care for a child, pet, or elder relative it stands to reason that the LW would have included that and shown more understanding about her team’s reluctance to go.

      2. Rebecca*

        But she’s letting them know 4 months in advance. She is giving them ample time to figure out childcare.

        And if it was a childcare issue, it seems more likely that they would state that up front rather than vague “social engagements that might come up.”

        1. Callie*

          It doesn’t matter whether I have 4 months or 6 months in advance if I have no family in town (for example, my family is on the east coast and I’m on the west coast) and no one I feel comfortable leaving my child overnight with.

        2. Penny*

          It is possible the employees are typically very busy outside of work with other social obligations. They could be concerned about an upcoming wedding, a family vacation that they are planning but don’t have specifics worked out yet, or just the fact that life is uncertain and you never know what will happen in four months, maybe they will have a funeral to attend. The employees don’t sound anymore unreasonable in their concerns than the boss with his/her mandatory three day trip.

      3. Emily K*

        The OP states:
        “Is it unreasonable of me to expect that everyone partakes in this training course, given the 4 months’ notice of the event, that none of my team have dependents or pets to make alternative care arrangements for, and that it’s entirely free?”

        1. Brett*

          I actually find it odd that the OP knows none of their team have dependents or pets. And even more odd that no one on the team even has pets.

          1. Jamie*

            That caught my eye too – wondered about their hiring practices, but then depending on the size of the team it’s possible it just happened.

            1. Kelly L.*

              I kind of wonder if the OP doesn’t actually know this yet, it’s just thrown in there to head off the usual hypotheticals at the pass.

          2. Jen in RO*

            Why is it odd? I knew which of my co-workers had kids, pets, SOs and all their names (pets included) on my team of 8. It doesn’t sound like the OP’s team is huge.

            1. Jamie*

              Did she mention the size of her team? She said most are okay with it but some are balking, so it sounds like it’s more than a couple of people.

              I don’t think it’s odd that she knows, I know stuff about my co-workers, too. I think it’s odd if there is a significant number of people on the team and no one has pets or kids. It’s just unlikely in a sampling of adults (the sampling being the same employer, not of a group which would indicate lifestyle) of more than a several people, that everyone, without exception is child and pet free.

              1. Jen in RO*

                I agree it’s unusual to have a team without any kids of pets, but Brett said he finds it odd that OP *knows* this fact. OP’s phrasing made me think the team is fairly small… actually, to me the concept of “team” implies “small” (under 20?), otherwise it would be “department” or something like that.

          3. Wren*

            I would find it odd if your boss didn’t know if you have kids. Not totally out of the question not to know, but that is the sort of thing that people normally discuss at work at least in passing. Pets too, now that I think about it. I have a coworker who started 2 weeks ago and I know she doesn’t have kids and does have a pet.

  5. themmases*

    The excuse about “social engagements” is so feeble it almost makes me wonder if the employees in question have some other reason they don’t want to share with their boss. If so, it’s a dumb excuse; they’d be better off going with vague “family obligations” or “personal reasons” than that.

  6. Random Reader*

    Maybe, just maybe, people are hesitant to be excited about this kind of trip because it could turn into a three day non-stop work activity time. Is there down time for people to decompress and not be around co-workers? This includes sharing a room with other people. Just something to think about!

    1. BCW*

      Great point. You are at the class all day, then probably expected to eat with the group, you are sharing a room with the group, its like being at work for 72 straight hours with no escape.

        1. Emily K*

          I’m very introverted and need some alone time every day. As a fellow introvert I’ll share with you the two best ways I found to get my alone-time on business travel:

          1) Long. Showers. The hotel showers just about never run out of hot water. You can shower for 45 minutes, you could leave the shower running for 45 minutes while you sit on the counter and play with your phone, etc.

          2) Hotel bar + book. Unlike non-hotel bars, hotel bars tend to be emptier/quieter, and when I’ve brought a book or other reading material with me, nobody has ever tried to approach me.

          It’s not as ideal as being truly alone for a long time, but it helps me hang onto my sanity. If the weather’s nice and the hotel is in a walkable area, sometimes I’ll just take a long walk around the area.

            1. KellyK*

              Not if you let them know you take long showers and let them shower first. Or at least, it shouldn’t.

              1. Emily K*

                Ah, I was trying to figure out why a shower would lead to violence…I was imagining a Psycho-esque shower murder scene or something!

                Yeah, I wasn’t implying you should hog the shower or anything, but I’ve found that most people are morning shower people, and as a night shower-er there’s usually very little demand for the shower at night. I always give a heads up that I like to take long showers and my roommate has never cared.

              2. Bea W*

                It doesn’t matter to me if there’s a warning, I’d still be annoyed as hell (especially if I were to find out the person was just running the water and not actually showering. I’d be WTF is that..!) Why should other people in the room have to schedule their own legit bathroom use around one person who comes across as not having enough consideration to not shorten their shower time by even just half. If you’ve got more than one roommate I can’t even imagine how that would go over. You can play on your phone or read in your room and ignore what anyone else is doing. Put on some headphones. Hogging a shared bathroom for a 45 min shower is a sure way to piss co-workers off.

                1. KellyK*

                  Just randomly running the water is stupid, sure, but if you’ve already showered, and they’re using up all the hot water or making you wait, how does it hurt you?

                2. AnonMe*

                  To KellyK: Your room-mate might need to use the toilet. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a hotel room with a toilet that’s in a separate room from the rest of the bathroom.

        2. Ann Furthermore*

          Oh yeah, me too. My job has required quite a bit of travel in the last few years, and I always wish there was a tactful way to say that no, I don’t want to have dinner with someone I just spent 10 hours with trapped in a conference room.

          Now I was somewhere last summer for 2 weeks, and one night at dinner the other 2 people I was with and I got to talking about how we are all introverted and really enjoy alone time. So we agreed that on Saturday, we would each do our own thing, and then meet up later for dinner. It was great.

          1. Jessa*

            Exactly, there’s no reason why you can’t build in alone time. But it should be done with your group in advance when you’re planning the conference/training itinerary. “Okay, we’re going to be stuck for 3 days, let’s make sure we don’t want to kill each other when this is over, how about we take – x time or part of x day after training for ourselves, individually.”

          2. Wren*

            I think that “I’m an introvert and I need to have some alone to recharge and process my day. I’ll see you later in the room/tomorrow at the first session. It looks really interesting” is perfectly tactful.

          3. Bea W*

            I just decline politely. No reason to torture yourself at the end of a long day. There doesn’t have to be a formal plan for down time. Each person can decide when they want to go off for the day. I’ve never encountered this being an issue, but then I travel with people who also travel quite a bit, so no one really feels obligated to spend non-work time with co-workers.

    2. Lucy*

      I agree! I would be upset at the thought of this, especially if we have to share rooms. I’m the definition of an introvert and I need my own time.

      But.. it’s 3 days! Suck it up. It’s not an ongoing thing and it doesn’t happen that often.

      1. Anna*

        Really! A lot of these responses are reasonable if the OP were asking for a permanent change, but it’s 3 days out their lives. It won’t make that much of a difference.

    3. Victoria Nonprofit*

      Good point. What can you do to make this more comfortable for your staff? For example:

      – Private hotel rooms.
      – PTO in compensation for the additional work time and lack of downtime at a conference like this (1 or 1.5 days?).
      – Explicit expectations around downtime (e.g., “We’ll all be together during the training, and I’ll organize an optional group dinner for anyone that wants to participate on one of the nights. The rest of the time you can all plan to do your own thing.”)
      – Explicit discussion of what you expect everyone to gain, and how it will be either applied to your current work or beneficial to their future careers/lives.

      1. Random Reader*

        If my boss asked me to go on a trip like this, I’d love to have a schedule so I can mentally prepare. I’m ok with having a long day, just as long as I know in advance as much as possible. Also, +1 to saying what is and isn’t optional (team dinners, drinks, sessions).

      2. Victoria Nonprofit*

        Oh, and make sure that your expectations around workload are reasonable too (e.g., reduce weekly output expectations that week; extend longer-term deadlines by a week, etc.). I can easily imagine staff blanching at the idea of taking 3+ days out of their week when they’re already struggling to keep their heads above water.

      3. KellyK*

        All very good points. I definitely like the idea of making sure that people have downtime and making sure their deadlines are adjusted appropriately.

      4. COT*

        I was going to say the same thing. If your team isn’t used to traveling together, trying to anticipate these expectations can be stressful. I know that I actually lost sleep over going to my first training conference with a new job/team earlier this year. Even though I was excited about the opportunity, I knew it would be really different from our time together in the office and I wasn’t sure how it would go.

    4. SevenSixOne*

      There are things colleagues don’t need to know about each other that are really hard to keep hidden if you’re sharing a room! I don’t want to know who farts in her sleep or wears a wig or believes “if it’s yellow, be mellow” or needs to do very involved medical treatment several times a day.

      1. KJR*

        This is probably really shallow, but I don’t want my co-workers to see me with no makeup and my hair all over the place! I’ve got my pride!

    5. AnonK*

      Some great advice I was given way back when I was in college and interning:

      Sometimes you spend time in ways that you may not want to spend it for the sake of your career.

      I’m sure it can be rationalized – everyone is different. But at the end of it all, it’s 3 days and they should suck it up.

  7. Steve*

    I think this has come up before, but what are the ramifications of a situation like anonymous above brings up? If you’re “requiring” attendance to an event like this, OP, are you giving every employee their own accommodations? I know I wouldn’t be happy about sharing a room at all, but I might try to wrangle a way out of a trip like this by using some other excuse than I don’t want to share a room (though I think I’d try to give something other than a “maybe my social life will pick up before then” kind of reason.)

    1. mm*

      I agree. I would pay for my own room before I would share one, but first I would try to get out of going with some lame excuse.

  8. Chocolate Teapot*

    I once had a mandatory workshop which clashed with a (subscription) concert. It was annoying as the concert dates were publicised well in advance and the workshop (requiring travel and an overnight stay) came up only later.

    If I could have changed my travel time (e.g. attend concert then travel to workshop early the following morning) I would have done. Sadly it wasn’t possible.

    In this case 4 months seems like ample time to block the date.

    1. Kate*

      She did mention the people who didn’t want to go didn’t have anything specific already planned for that time period. Four months to not plan something social for 3 days seems to be perfectly reasonable.

    1. A cita*

      A made a similar post before reading comments and seeing yours. One of my favorite words that is misused all the time. :)

    2. Cruciatus*

      Yes! I see it misused all the time. If it meant “amused” then why would we need another very similar word to mean the same thing!? I know English doesn’t always make sense but… I just finished a book where the author kept misusing “bemused” and I toyed with the idea of writing to him and telling him the actual definition but figured that might be too bitchy… I know my punctuation stinks so I’m not perfect either:;! But don’t get me started on people who say “miss-chee-vee-us” for “mischievous.” Nails. Chalkboard.

        1. Emily K*

          The “i” comes with the “e” not after the “v”. So it’s pronounced miss-chee-vous.

          It reminds me of a stop on the DC metro train called Grosvenor. It’s a French word so the “s” is silent, and it’s properly pronounced Grove-nor, but in actuality it’s near-universally pronounced Groves-nor. People just really want to say the “s” even though it’s supposed to be in the previous syllable.

        2. fposte*

          MIS-chiv-us. The mis-CHE-vi-us pronunciation inserts an extra i that isn’t in the word, which offends people who want language to be logical :-).

          It’s a linguistically understandable pronunciation, though, as there are a lot of words that end with the “ious” spelling and pronunciation (odious, insidious), and I think the earlier “i” causes people to misthread (the same thing happens with “heinous”).

          1. Cruciatus*

            Funny you should mention “heinous.” A childhood friend’s mom always said “hin-ee-us.” And I didn’t know what she meant until much later. Not even sure how I figured it out (or why she apparently used that word so often?). Also, she said “vague” as “vag” (rhymes with bag). That was…awkward. “Oh, she was pretty vag about it.” Wait…what!?

      1. pgh_adventurer*

        That’s the English pronunciation (at least, my English mother says it that way). So, not wrong! Just different.

  9. Bryan*

    I feel like social obligations (that don’t even exist) is a lame excuse. Do these people complain about other things? I feel like there are certain people who are going to be unhappy no matter what. There are legitimate excuses such as I have a coworker who has three children and her husband is a nurse who works nights.

    As others have said though, is there any sharing of a room or even a bed? Unless it was the conference of a lifetime I would not like this at all. But I love when I get to travel for business and have a hotel room to myself, all meals covered, and get the opportunity to learn.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I think we should share what would be compelling enough for each of us that we’d share a bed with coworkers in order to get to go. I have having trouble thinking of anything. (Jamie, would you do this to get to attend a Van Halen concert where you had back stage passes?)

      1. ExceptionToTheRule*

        The only circumstance that would compel me to share a bed with a co-worker is if the alternative is sleeping outside in a polar vortex.

      2. themmases*

        I would share a bed to attend a conference where I was presenting something I was first author on. But probably not every time– maybe my first time ever or for a really great/important conference.

      3. AVP*

        I just want to say that I thought sharing rooms was a little awkward, but I have never heard of this “sharing beds” thing! Maybe I would do it if…like…we made a film that got into Sundance and won an Audience Award BUT the acceptance was somehow contingent on me sharing a bed with someone. And that’s a maybe.

      4. Steve*

        Keeping this clean and in the vein it was intended – I would have to say that it would have to involve some sort of financial gain for me. As in – this trip is being done on the cheap because the client is paying for it, but there’s a guaranteed $10K bonus for each person involved since we finally got their huge contract.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Yeah, re: not keeping it clean, I feel like there must be at least two romantic comedies based on the premise of sexual tension linked to “whoops, the hotel room only has one bed.”

          Also, this happened when Patch and Kayla were on the run from the law on Days of Lives in the late 80s, and it was instrumental in the plotline. (Days of our Lives was my crack when I was 14.)

          1. AmyNYC*

            That kind of happens in “The Proposal” and a tiny bit in “Roman Holiday.”
            Also, the only time those movies have been in the same sentence.

            1. Jamie*

              Sitcoms are my frame of reference – Barbara and Bob from One Day at a Time – after Julie ran away with Chuck.

              Barbara and Bob didn’t do anything, but they hung the sheet from the ceiling down the bed to split it in half.

              There was a while I thought sleeping awkwardly in a motel room with one foot on the floor in a bed partitioned by a sheet was part of normal dating. But I’ve been married twice and dated way more than I will ever number and it still hasn’t happened.

                1. Jamie*

                  It did – but I think it was on a train? At least one of them?

                  Where he didn’t sleep well at all and she did, and she told him the fact that she slept sounder and felt safer with him than she had in years was the best compliment she could give him?

                  And if I recall a certain Mr. Danza was not wearing a shirt at the time?

                  I am sitting here paraphrasing Angela Bower…and isn’t that a little sad?

              1. Saturn9*

                Hanging a sheet from the ceiling is far too much effort. I rely on a deliberately placed Chastity Pillow to protect the integrity of all those forced to share a bed in circumstances where they would really, really rather not be sharing a bed.

            2. Windchime*

              I *love* “It Happened One Night”. I don’t think I know anyone else who has ever seen it when I’ve asked about it. And they shared a room, but not a bed….they put up some kind of a rope or string and hung a blanket on it to divide the room.

          2. MentalEngineer*

            I would guess that there are way more than two films based on that premise. They’re just not comedies and are only romantic in a certain loose sense.

            1. Jessa*

              How could you link TVTropes…ack, drowning in cross linking from TVTropes, that was eeeevil of you. :-)

      5. Lora*

        Depends on the co-worker. My star employee? Probably an all-expenses-paid 2-week trip to Europe where there simply were not enough hotel rooms/beds to go around unless we doubled up. The creepy dude two floors down? I would prefer a pup tent in the polar vortex, thanks.

        1. Lore*

          Also depends on the bed. I feel like some of those hotel king-sizes are big enough that three people could reasonably sleep in them without ever making any kind of contact as long as you had a few spare blankets.

            1. Chinook*

              Thrasher or drooled are nothing compared to “suffers from random night terrors and wakes up screaming.” When I mention this factoid about me, a room is usually found.

          1. V*

            Apparently there is an actual name for that size – California King. Who knew! I learned that last month.

      6. SJK*

        The only circumstance I can think of that would make me even consider sharing a bed (or even a room) with a co-worker is if the co-worker was exceptionally, outrageously attractive and I was exceptionally, outrageously inebriated…

        Can’t think of an event or conference to make me willing to share if I were in my right mind.

      7. Bryan*

        If my coworker was cute, single, and rich.

        Now serious reasons:
        If it was a conference that was so appealing to me, I might consider it depending on the coworker (there are some where I would be nervous about touching with a ten foot poll). Like if it was three days of nothing but seminars that were exactly what I wanted to learn or if the speakers were out of this world. Or if it was an askamanager conference (patent pending) but I had to share a bed.

        Or if it was in a super desirable location. I can only imagine getting the opportunity to go to a conference in Hawaii during winter or getting to go to Europe.

      8. Jamie*

        (Jamie, would you do this to get to attend a Van Halen concert where you had back stage passes?)

        Right to my weakness! (I am refraining from making all the “if Alex Van Halen were my co-worker jokes which are flying in my head…)

        But no, because I’m a worship from afar kind of girl and I’m desperately afraid that meeting either Alex or Eddie would ruin the years of adoration I’ve already sunk into them.

        But truthfully, because I think this is a fascinating mental exercise of where boundaries lie, I could deal with sharing a room for business at my current company – because I have a couple of female work friends who are also personal friends and I could put up with that for a couple of nights if we could choose room-mates.

        I could not, under any circumstances, share a room with someone if there was no friendship and they were just a co-worker or someone I didn’t know well. And that’s not a safety thing at all – it’s comfort level thing. It would make me uncomfortable enough that I would have no downtime/no recharging.

        Sharing a bed, though? Unless it would save the life of a loved one that would never happen. You can save water by showering together, but I’m not doing that with my co-workers either! Just the thought of sharing a bed with someone with whom I don’t have an intimate relationship caused me to physically clench – even if I wanted to be a team player this is so boundary crossing for me I wouldn’t do it.

        1. Jamie*

          I could deal with sharing a room for business at my current company

          Because I can’t not clarify – even for this there would have to be HUGE mitigating reasons and something major in it for me. Like a bonus in the not low 5 figures coming out of whatever we were traveling for, or some crazy emergency where there were literally no other beds available. I wouldn’t do it to save them money – economizing isn’t a good enough reason to ask adults to bunk together.

          1. Anonymous*

            When I was younger the whole company I worked with went away for a training weekend. We had to double up in rooms. There were three in the room I stayed in. All female co-workers and we only had two beds. We got a roll-a-way put in the room. It was 3 hours away from the city and out in the sticks. Luckily for me I was friends with the co-workers I had to share with. I was single at the time but if you were married and brought your spouse you got your own private room. The husbands played golf that came along for the weekend while we were working.

        2. NutellaNutterson*

          “You can save water by showering together, but I’m not doing that with my co-workers either!”

          I hope I never have to argue against a shared room, but if I do, this is what I’m saying.

          1. Saturn9*

            If you’re arguing with someone who works in a company that is already advocating sharing rooms, I see absolutely no reason to present an argument that might risk giving them any other money-saving ideas.

        3. ChristineSW*

          Aside from the Van Halen stuff, I want to ditto everything in your post. If it is a female and I have a good working relationship with her, I’d be fine with sharing a room during a business trip. Sharing a bed? Nope. I draw the line there.

      9. Anonymous*

        I had to do this once. My employer handled the hotel arrangements and never ran them by me nor my co-workers. I did not in my wildest dreams imagine that the boss would decide proper hotel arrangements consisted of “all women in one room, all men in another” – when there happened to be four women (all grad students) and one man (the boss).

        We arrived at the hotel and there was only one room for four of us, with only two beds. It was for a conference on a small tourist island with no other accommodations within my budget at the time. Since one of my co-workers and I were good friends, and all other relationships in the room topped out at acquaintance, I ended up sharing the bed with my co-worker. One of the other co-workers claimed the easy chair in the room, and the other the remaining bed. We were pretty literally stranded on this island, so there were not a lot of alternatives. The hotel room was small enough that floor space was an issue without anyone sleeping there.

        In the future, I always checked the boss’s hotel arrangements before commencing travel. For a different conference, the boss decided it was appropriate to sign me up to room with a complete stranger attending the conference from a foreign institution. Neither my boss nor I knew the person in question, nor was I consulted. I quietly rented my own room at another hotel.

        Same boss, one last story. Boss had one grad student who voluntarily slept in his office during her experiment so she could be on-call 24/7 for a full week. When it came time for my experiment, I quietly took the boss aside to explain that I would absolutely not be doing that, but I would be happy to show up at 15-minutes notice from my rather nearby home if anything came up while I was not on shift (the co-worker who had slept in the boss’s office also lived in the same apartment building as me…). I nearly hit the man when he made a comment about how I wasn’t as dedicated as the nutty co-worker.

      10. Cath@VWXYNot?*

        Not for a conference, or for training, that’s for sure.

        Site visit to somewhere like Google HQ, maybe? Or for a meeting with someone very cool and interesting.

        Now I’m trying to think of work-related reasons to sign my team up to meet David Attenborough at the Googleplex, all expenses paid.


      11. Ann Furthermore*

        I’d do it for Super Bowl tickets, if it were the Broncos and the ever-awesome Peyton Manning playing.

      12. ThursdaysGeek*

        Interesting. I’ve shared a bed with my sisters and with some good friends. I’ve often shared a bed with teens when I am a chaparone, and will be doing so again in about a month (sometimes the teen prefers to sleep on the floor rather than share a bed with an old geezer like me). But with a co-worker? I can’t think of anything compelling enough to say yes to that. I’m willing to share a room, and have in the past, but if the company can afford to pay me, they can afford to get enough beds for each worker. Even if the co-worker is a friend, and I’d be willing to share a bed if we went on a fun vacation together, a business should have some basic boundaries they don’t cross, and asking that is inappropriate.

        1. Mints*

          I like your answer. Some people seem really outraged about sharing a bed with anybody who’s not a spouse, but I can think of several friends and family members I’d be fine cosleeping with

          1. Felicia*

            I have and don’t mind sharing beds with one of my sisters, or my cousin, or a few of my closest friends. But I know them really well and that would be in the context of a fun vacation. I generally barely know my coworkers at all, and after working all day i want my own bed.

        2. Penny*

          Well said. Sharing a bed with family and friends on your own time is a personal choice and should never be forced on employees as a job requirement.

        1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

          And my answer was going to be that I’d share my bed if my co-worker was Benedict Cumberbatch!

          omg, it’s like we’re the same person! ;)

        2. wesgerrr*

          Elizabeth West- It made my day when I opened up my new Star Trek calander for my cubicle (I kid you not,), and his face as Khan was the first picture. I’m thinking of extending January for another couple of months, now.

          So I completely understand.

      13. Liz in a library*

        I cannot think of a thing. I am such a light sleeper and inappropriate sleep cuddler that…nope. My favorite thing about work travel is having a bed of my own that I don’t have to share with my spouse! ;)

        Honestly, if it is at all within the company’s budget, I don’t think coworkers should have to share rooms. At my old job, I had to share several times with a coworker who is a close friend and about the easiest person to get along with in the world, and I still found it stressful and uncomfortable.

        1. Jamie*

          I am such a light sleeper and inappropriate sleep cuddler that…nope.

          Thank you – I was beginning to think I was the only one who didn’t tuck into bed, drift quietly to sleep, and wake up as neatly arranged as when I got into bed.

          Even if I were one of those movie sleeping people (who awoke with perfect hair and makeup, no less) I still wouldn’t do it, but reality?

          My husband hasn’t gone one night since we’ve been married without either having to shove me back to my side or have to fight to hang onto his rightful half of the bed. And I talk in my sleep – not quiet mumbles either. And I’m a blanket stealer. And I am a sleep hitter if he accidentally rolls over on my hair. I’m smacking whatever I can reach as soon as I feel pain, long before I’m fully awake.

          In my life I’ve never woken with the same number of pillows/blankets on the bed as were there when I went to sleep.

          So for some of us even if we could get passed the social hurdles would have some issues!

          1. Marcy*

            I’m so glad I’m not alone! I hit my husband in my sleep even when he hasn’t rolled onto my hair. I also not only talk in my sleep, I have apparently even gone as far as tapping him on the shoulder and shaking him to wake him up so that he would listen to me talking in my sleep. He thought it was funny in the beginning. Not so much now.

            1. Anonymous*

              My husband will be happy to know he’s not the only one who does that. :) I’ve heard him swear, he’s shoved me and once even spat at me because he was dreaming he was fighting a giant chicken.

      14. Jen in RO*

        If my company got me a visa for the States, for a conference in my field, and I could share with a coworker I’m friendly with. And if I got a few extra days to travel.
        (Why? Because as an unmarried 30-year old woman that doesn’t own property, getting a US travel visa is unlikely. Though my chances are going up as I age!)

        1. Judy*

          I couldn’t find anything online about Romanian citizens getting US travel visas, but US citizens can travel to Romania with no visa for 90 days, and most countries have equivalent visa processes. And it looks like Romania is going to enter the Schengen area “in the near future”, so then you wouldn’t need a visa for tourist or business travel to the US of 90 days or less.

          1. Jen in RO*

            Right now there’s a fairly complicated (and somewhat humiliating) procedure, and if you’re young, female and without obligations you’re assumed to be after marrying an American for a green card or staying there illegally. Of course there are exceptions too, but this is the norm. I am not getting my hopes up about Schengen, the EU (especially the UK) hates us enough right know, but who knows! Maybe once the UK realizes that we won’t invade, things will quiet down a little.

            1. Rayner*

              The UK just hates Europe at the moment. Just… everything ‘over there’ is a terrible terrible thing and we don’t like it, and we want out and we’ll stamp our feet until we get it.

              I’m really sorry. D:

              1. Jen in RO*

                I think you (meaning the Daily Mail reading part of the population) have a special hell for the new additions on the free job market right now :)

      15. Mints*

        I shared a bed with a classmate when we went on a weeklong field trip to visit colleges. I remember the organizer making a petty huge effort to make sure we bunked with people who we liked. There was a secret survey of who you would like to bunk with, and I coslept with the same girl all week, with rotating third and fourth roomie. All in all it was totally fine. Also, the trip was voluntary and we really wanted to go.
        One thing I just remembered: when the boys realized we were four to a room, there was some borderline homophobic fake outrage (“You can sleep on the floor! I’m not sharing with a dude!”) but then they shared a bed anyway, and I’m wondering of there’s a gender difference.

        1. AB*

          Hahaha, in high school we frequently went on trips (probably 4 a year) and almost always had to share beds. It didn’t seem so strange then. The teachers put up sign up sheets, and you signed up for a room. That was that. The funny part was how hyper-vigilante the chaperones were about keeping us in our rooms at night (and the boys out of the girls’ rooms). One teacher would actually set up a chair and sleep in the hallway.

          1. Jamie*

            I think that’s totally different than adults being asked to do it, though.

            I went to boarding school and we had room-mates, so when we traveled it wasn’t a big deal because you lived with these people anyway.

            It also was no big deal to shower with your classmates where it would be on the front page of every newspaper if a company required that of co-workers.

      16. MaryMary*

        I can think of several times in college where I went to a conference or another school-sponsored trip and shared beds with other (female) students. I don’t remember it being a big deal at all, but maybe we were used to it from class trips and such in high school. Or the fact that college kids are notorious for sleeping anywhere, at anytime. Or because we didn’t spend a lot of time asleep, if I remember correctly.

        1. Recent College Grad*

          I had to do it for overnight track meets, but I hated it because they’d often put people in rooms together who secretly hated one another. In high school, I did have to share a bed with a girl who had loudly proclaimed how much she hated me, not realizing I was right behind her.

        2. TK*

          I was in a group in college that traveled overnight to events with some regularity. Our group didn’t have much money and we were college kids, so we never cared about sharing rooms & beds and even mixing genders within rooms. One time we had more people going than we had planned at the last minute and fit something like 13 people into two hotel rooms. (We strategically enter/exited the hotel through back doors so as not to arouse suspicion, since we were pretty sure putting that many people in a room was illegal.) On that trip only 3 of the group were female, and they all didn’t mind sharing one bed. All us guys then just sort of claimed sleeping space wherever. My roommate and I (we had met through the group) were seniors and claimed a bed; we didn’t mind sharing.

          Looking back, it all seems sort of crazy. But these trips were usually something like drive 5 hours, get in at midnight Friday night, up at 7:00 for all day event Saturday, then drive 5 hours home that night– so we didn’t do much at the hotel besides sleep anyway. And we were college kids who didn’t care.

      17. ChristineSW*

        NOTHING would be a compelling reason for me to share a bed with a coworker!! In fact, I don’t always like even sharing a room with others unless it is with someone I know well and with whom I’m comfortable with.

        1. ChristineSW*

          P.S. Good thing my husband doesn’t read this column–he’d dangle the “not even if the trip involved getting to meet your favorite singer??” carrot right in front of me!

      18. Cassie*

        Back when I was a semi-professional ballet dancer, we would have occasional out-of-town performances. Since the company was mostly made up of high school (with some college-aged or older) dancers, we always had to share rooms and beds. It would usually be 4 girls to a room, 2 to a bed. For the guys, they got away with 2 per room, each guy in his own bed.

        I hated it. Having had to share a bed/room with my sister when I was a little kid, I relish at having my own room and bed. I don’t enjoy getting kicked by people. As an introvert, I don’t like spending a continuous stream of hours with other people. Also, some of the others had no consideration for others – they’d take long showers in the morning, without asking if others needed to use the bathroom. (That’s another problem with sharing rooms – only one bathroom).

        I’m not sure I could ever be persuaded to share a bed or a room with a coworker. I know my boss (and other faculty) wouldn’t ever so why should I? I would just pay the difference and get my own room.

      19. Just another Reader*

        I actually did share a bed with a co-worker once, and one who I’d just met the day prior. There was a pull down bed somewhere in the room, we couldn’t figure out where it was so we decided to share the king sized bed. We’re both tiny people, so you could’ve fit another 2 people between us.

        However, given a choice, I wouldn’t necessarily want to share a bed with a co-worker again, unless he looked like George Clooney.

      20. Windchime*

        I guess it would depend on who the co-worker was! But for the most part, yeah……not so much interested in sharing a bed with a co-worker. I don’t even want to share a bed with a family member.

      21. Mander*

        As a graduate student I’ve shared rooms and even beds when going to conferences, but in all cases I was pretty good friends with those people. It was a little weird but I coped, and it was voluntary so I didn’t feel trapped.

        I’m pretty introverted but I could probably deal with sharing a room for a few days with a co-worker, but not a bed. That’s just icky, and honestly, it doesn’t seem like it is treating your employees like adults.

        I can’t really imagine what would make me share a bed with a co-worker except overwhelming guilt if I didn’t.

    2. Jack the Brit*

      Maybe I’m in the wrong field, but I don’t believe “conference” and “of a lifetime” make sense together!

  10. Nonprofit Office Manager*

    I hate traveling for work to an unreasonable degree. That said, nothing about this arrangement sounds out of the ordinary. The comments about the work trip interfering with hypothetical social engagements are just plain bizarre. I agree with the person above who suggested that those excuses are a disguise for the real reason some folks don’t want to travel. I despise work travel, for example, because spending 8 hours with my coworkers and THEN going out for dinner/drinks on top of that, for multiple days in a row, is just too much. I need time to “air out” from them. I can’t say that, though, when the other 15 people on my team seem gung ho about spending 16 hours a day together.

    1. Vicki*

      I’m guessing that this may be their actual reason. They despise work travel, never signed on for work travel, aren’t so enamored of the class to believe it should be a 72-hour requirement… and tried to come up with an excuse that sounded better than saying “spending 8 hours with my coworkers and THEN going out for dinner/drinks on top of that, or being stuck in a hotel room, for multiple days in a row, is just too much”.

      I’ve used the excuse “I have other things I need to do”.

    2. Jennifer*

      Yeah, that’s what I thought too. I never, ever take business trips and I would be pretty annoyed at having to be gone for three days with no time off for myself and having to share a room and all that. But there’s no polite way to say such a thing and you aren’t allowed to turn it down, either.

      It may be harder to adjust when you didn’t sign up for travel as part of your job, too.

  11. Karyn*

    I think I’m a freak, because I LOVE going on business travel. Maybe that’s because usually when I’m sent to a training session it’s in my favorite city (Washington D.C.) and I love staying in hotels, even more when I don’t have to pay for them, but I would adore more chances to go out of town on my company’s dime if they’re willing to invest in my career. I also feel like maybe I feel this way because no other company before my current one has been WILLING to invest in me before. So I’m taking advantage of every opportunity they give me.

    That said, “potential” social obligations sounds like a cover for something else going on. I agree with what others above have said – is there some kind of thought that they’ll be required to hang out with coworkers 24/7? Thankfully, the last time I went on a work trip, it was with one coworker who I happen to adore, and we hung out with some of my non-work DC friends, so there was ample “down” time, but maybe your team doesn’t think that will be the case here? Other than that, I’m not sure what’s going on.

    1. AVP*

      I love it too! Even working 16-hour days in weird places that I would never travel to otherwise. But then again, no one would sign up for my job unless you were definitely into stuff like that…

      1. Anonymous*

        I’ve never posted on here before, but your comment intrigued me and I have to ask: what is your job?

        1. AVP*

          I produce documentary films and also have a lot of ad agency clients that I produce commercials for. Budgets for commercial shoots have reduced a LOT in the past 10 years for obvious reasons, so it’s not uncommon that we’re trying to fit what used to be a 3-day shoot into 2 days. Which is how we find ourselves shooting sun-up to sun-down in the middle of the summer (and then doing the next day’s paperwork after wrap) – voila, 16 hours.

          Sometimes in cool places (Portland, OR) and sometimes we end up in the middle of nowhere (recently – Odessa, TX and Grand Junction, CO).

          I live in NYC and this is hands-down my least favorite place in the world to shoot anything, so any time we get to travel I am really, really excited.

            1. AVP*

              We make the types of artsy cinema verite films that are often seen at film festivals and rarely elsewhere. Very character-driven and about as far away from Michael Moore and Ken Burns as one can get!

              to answer Andrea’s question below…the location is usually mandated by the story or character. On the rare occasion that we get to choose from “anywhere,” we think about weather and daylight first (always better to be somewhere temperate with a lot of daylight hours; we spend a lot of time outside) and then the beauty of the place and the type of people you find there. For a toothpaste ad, for example, you want to be in the kind of area where people prize big, bright smiles and maintain them. If it’s a fancy car brand, you’re going to be in a major coastal city where the most possible people can afford to drive those cars (and thus you have a bigger pool of people to choose from when casting).

    2. Daria*

      I love business travel as long as I get my own room. PD things are often “let’s all stuff ourselves into a van and then do the 4 to a room with two beds” things. I always book my own room at my own expense at those, because no. Just…no.

      1. fposte*

        That’s another point for the OP, actually–if people can buy private rooms with their own money, let them know that. (I’m with you and have done that ever since I could afford to.)

    3. MR*

      I completely agree. I would love nothing more than having a job where I jump on an airplane Monday morning, stay in a hotel all week and return Friday afternoon.

      Anyone know where I can find a job like this?

      1. Victoria Nonprofit*

        Um, try it out before you say you’d love it. I’m sure some people do, but everyone I know in a travel job (including myself) longs for more time at home.

        1. CC*

          Yeah, the romance of travel wears off after a while.

          I don’t hate it. I sometimes get to go to interesting places, for various values of “interesting”. (I try to find interesting things about the places, too.)

          1. Victoria Nonprofit*

            Before I traveled for work I definitely thought it would be exciting. But, you know? It’s work; in a different set of offices/meeting rooms/coffee shops.

            I do love staying in hotels. If I were single and super rich I’d totally live in a hotel.

          2. Elizabeth West*

            My consultants say they don’t mind traveling (they wouldn’t do it if they did), but the client sites never seem to be someplace cool, just little tiny towns with nowhere to eat!

          3. Ann O'Nemity*

            Definitely agree about the romance of travel wearing off. My husband and I each traveled a lot more when we were younger. I remember having so much biz travel excitement back then! But it’s worn off over the years. We’ve both made deliberate career choices so that we have to travel less often. I think we turned into homebodies at some point in our 30s.

          4. dangitmegan*

            I love traveling for work, which is good since we’re on tour seven or so months of the year. When we travel domestically it’s usually small towns in the middle of nowhere, but then we get to go to awesome places like Italy and Bulgaria. I love the travel and I get bummed when we have multiple weeks working in the office.

            I do get my own hotel room as staff though and if I didn’t I wouldn’t make it in the job. They were considering trying to save money and having us share rooms this year but three of the four of us said we probably wouldn’t sign on again so they dropped it!

        2. Gjest*

          Yes, I travel a lot for my current job, and sometimes it’s great, but it does get old. I was only home for 4 days in December…that is not easy after a while.

      2. Ann Furthermore*

        Try IT consulting — 100% travel. Lots of perks, but it does wear you down after awhile. Kind of fun while you’re single, but a complete drag if you’re married and/or have kids.

    4. AnonK*

      I enjoyed it quite a bit when I was younger. I saw a lot of places and met a lot of people. I’ll admit I was a little bit of a barfly when I was younger, and you never had problems meeting other interesting travelers in a hotel bar at 12-1am.

      Now, I wouldn’t say I dread travel, but I just assume not do it.

      What really wore me down on it is that it is a lot of time to spend being “on”. My favorite nights on business travel are when I am able to be back in my hotel by 6:30pm, order room service, and go to sleep early.

    5. MissDisplaced*

      I’ve always rather liked business travel too! I’m a veteran of travel for press checks (at 3 am no less) and I went on a few management and training retreats as well. It’s nice to get out of the office once and awhile.

      Never had to share a room though.

    6. Jen in RO*

      I only traveled for work reasons once, but I loved it! A coworker and I were sent to the company’s offices in Paris, to meet the team there and do some knowledge transfer. I got to meet the French team (yay for putting faces to names! yay for going out to the local bar!), the coworker in question was lovely, and we had a great time getting lost in Paris after work hours! I slept for 2 days afterwards, so I don’t think I could do it long term, but I really enjoyed it.

    7. Prickly Pear*

      I love to travel, and when I got to go on an extended business trip (like, away for 2+ months) I was crazy homesick, but also having the time of my life. I pretty much like what I do, but I would leave in a heartbeat to become a flight attendant, pay cut be dammed.

    8. Chinook*

      I like business travel too, but I am a traveller’s at heart. My theory is that no one would make you work 24/7 and I can always sleep when I get home, so this is a chance to see somewhere new.

    9. BellaLuna*

      I love traveling for work. I prefer having my own room but my mgr likes to share. She is actually an easy roommate as she goes to bed at 9 pm and can sleep thru anything. I am a light sleeper and she gets up early and knows to quietly exit the room. I have put my foot down that I will not share a room when we travel to a different time zone. And we never share a bed. I feel like having my own room should be compensation for traveling and I love the time to myself at night with no children or husband. If I don’t feel like attending a group dinner I don’t attend.

  12. KellyK*

    I don’t think there’s anything at all unreasonable about a short trip with plenty of notice, as long as everyone’s getting their own rooms, and as long as no one was explicitly told that their job didn’t involve any travel.

    Heck, even if someone was explicitly told that their job didn’t include travel, it’s still a one-time thing that couldn’t necessarily have been foreseen. I’m very big on being up-front with people about your requirements, but you can’t predict everything.

  13. B*

    While they are lame excuses, you also need to remember not everyone likes to be with their coworkers for 1 day much less 3 straight days with no time away. I would try to specify that each person will have a separate room, you have built in time for people to have “me time”, and that you will be giving them comp time.

    As an aside…If you are thinking of doing more of these please let them know. Otherwise you will get resentful employees like me who were not told – even when asked – late nights, weekends, and traveling would be required. Some of us do things after work and on weekends that are important to us and do not wish to give up.

  14. Lindsay the Temp*

    200 miles is far, but not that far. Unless they would have to travel around/through a large city…have them sign a travel liability waiver, let them drive themselves, and tell them they will only be reimbursed for the amount it would have cost for the company-made travel arrangements. Give them the choice; let them weigh their own balance over the cost, time, convenience, and the havoc this 3 days would cause to their social schedule!

    1. Ann O'Nemity*

      Eh, 200 miles is pretty far for a twice a day commute. And it depends on the location. Two hundred miles in SoCal? No way. Even if we’re talking about highways in Kansas, that’s 6 hours of commuting per day.

      1. Lindsay the Temp*

        Right, but then it’s their choice, and their problem to make sure they’re in attendance. In MI, it would take them about and hour and a half each way if most of the driving were on the freeway.

          1. Lindsay the Temp*

            baah! My bad…for some reason I was computing time for 100 miles… That’s what happens when you try to work and read AAM at the same time!! In any case, my point is- give them the option to have what it appears they want (not to have to spend the night away), and let THEM decide if it’s worth the inconvenience.

        1. TL*

          Even if they’re driving 80 mph the whole way (which I think is only legal in TX, though I could be wrong, of course), that’s only 120 miles for an hour and a half worth’s of driving.

          Going 90 mph, an hour and a half gives you 135 miles. 2 hours gives you 180 miles.

          Going 100 mph, it’ll take you 2 hours to go 200 miles.

          1. Emily, admin extraordinaire*

            80 mph is legal in most of the rural parts of Utah, too. It makes my summertime trips down to Cedar City for the Utah Shakespeare Festival much more pleasant. :)

            1. TL*

              I’m learning so much about speed limits! Thanks! I know Texas was one of the first to ramp up the limits, but I’m intrigued to see others have followed.

            1. Laufey*

              More likely it’s “Not enforced because doing so would make Atlanta traffic even worse,” rather than actually “legal.” I’m fairly certain that the posted limit is 55 mph in many of the places where people drive 80 mph.

                1. Laufey*

                  My dad and I always used to joke that everyone mistook the interstate signs for the speed limit signs.

                  I learned to drive in Atlanta. First day behind the wheel, the driving instructor took me down to spaghetti junction. Nothing scares me anymore, not even New York drivers.

          2. Sadsack*

            MI has 75mph roads, but that still would be over 2.5 hours of driving twice a day for 3 days. Not sure where LindsayTheTemp is getting 1.5 hours.

            1. Chris*

              Michigan has 75mph freeways – which for me is a two hour drive at 55 to reach one. Unless we changed the speed limit and I havent noticed…

              And dont forget where there are freeways , there is always construction :(

              1. TL*

                Hehe, not in Texas. (Seriously, once you’re out of the cities, there’s almost never construction delays on any highways. Except 59, from Victoria to Houston – there’s always construction there!)

                But in Texas, posted speed limits on highways are generally 75, if it’s flat and straight; and 80 on I-10 and a few others.

  15. Ann O'Nemity*

    Just how young / inexperienced are these employees with the vague social expectations? It’s such a piss poor excuse that I’m literally shaking my head.

    1. AnonK*

      The jaded, veteran manager in me is half expecting these to be the exact same employees who complain that they are never offered opportunities for training and development.

  16. Sabrina*

    Could be they have travel anxiety. Or maybe that’s a raid night and they don’t know what boss they’ll be downing in 4 months.

    1. Jen in RO*

      This made me laugh out loud. My boyfriend has missed a bunch of first kills due to business travel, but he sure as hell didn’t try to back out of it “because WoW”!

          1. Wilton Businessman*

            Dexter = fictional TV serial killer

            You said “My boyfriend has missed a bunch of first kills due to business travel”…

            Could have worked with a vampire reference also, but…

            1. Jen in RO*

              Haha, sorry, I was in WoW mode :D In context, “first kill” is the first time your raid kills a particular boss. (He does have some coworkers he’d like to get rid of, but he will do it through firing, not anything more… lethal.)

              1. Beebs*

                I was on some kind of opening day for hunting season and was thinking, “Gee, I’ve never heard people talk about it that way before!” The Dexter I got. :-)

        1. MentalEngineer*

          Most hotels also have wired Internet. The bandwidth is still terrible, but the latency is usually fine. So patching, no (at least not between 6 pm and midnight); playing, yes.

          Source: I have raided from several hotels.

    2. Lonny*

      In all seriousness, how would this particular excuse work out given the OP’s scenario. Unlike a legitimate planned family or social event, raids can come up at very short notice, regardless of how much notice is given for the company training. If new patches are released (usually with no predictable release schedule or notice given) then hardcore gamers want in immediately. Would it be acceptable to bail at the last minute for something like this? I get the waste of company funding for someone not to attend, but isn’t there a conflict of that person’s work/life balance if they’re being forced to indirectly put work before their MMORPG time if they’re unable to get home in the evenings to partake? Or should they just suck it up for what sounds like just a one-off training event for a few days?

      1. Jen in RO*

        Unless you’re in a top world guild like Method or Paragon or whoever (I don’t really keep up), I think it’s a matter of “suck it up and go”. The boss will be there when you come back*. And if you’re in a top guild, you probably don’t have a 9 to 5 job anyway, since those guys raid for 12 hours straight on new patches.

        *I once went on holiday for a week and missed my guild’s one Kael’Thas kill. After the kill, half the guild left to create a new guild, where only the “cool kids” were invited. I am still bitter. (But I hadn’t abandoned the quests, so I got Hand of Ad’al 2 years later!)

        1. Jen in RO*

          Um, and I’m sorry, but it’s hard for me to see how these kind of comments sound to the “outside” world. In this case, “boss” = big bad thing you need to kill, and killing just refers to pixels. No actual human bosses are harmed!

  17. NurseB*

    I think there’s a big difference between regular business travel and infrequent things like conferences and professional development. I’m a nurse so travel is not normally a part of my job, given the nature of my work. That being said, there’s an excellent possibility I will be going to a conference out of state in the next year for continuing education and professional development. I don’t consider it to be part of my every day job but something that comes up in the nature of having a career. This is not in any way unreasonable at all.

  18. JW*

    Separate rooms is key. I would hate to travel if I felt like I had to be “on” at all times for three days. I would express that during the day, the schedule will include A, B, and C, but after 5 pm, employees are free to do whatever they wish in the comfort of their owns rooms. For me, it’d be working out, chilling in the room, shopping, and perhaps joining my coworkers for dinner.

  19. Sandrine*

    Ha, I WISH we had training like this.

    As far as my “social life” … sure, I’m no socialite, and I’m no hermit either, but I’m sorry, I sure as heck won’t see my friends every single day of the week, so I don’t see why I’d need to be afraid of three days.

    4 months is *plenty* of time to make things on your calendar, and except a wedding or some kind of one-of-a-kind situation (like, say, a milestone birthday) I see no reason for being worried about it.

    Even if you’re, say, a parent of very young kids and you live with the other parent… even that kind of baby sitting can be arranged and you’d have time to interview your baby sitter if you don’t have one yet anyway.

    I’d “make” them go, but I’d try to see if I could accomodate their reservations, should they have any (like not sharing a room with so and so, etc…) .

  20. CB*

    It sounds to me like maybe there are some weird team dynamics going on or maybe the employees don’t have much respect for the manager. That might be why they are using a lame excuse like “possible social obligations” to get out of a business trip. If they took their manager seriously, they wouldn’t give such a flimsy excuse.

    1. Anonymous*

      Or they were caught off guard by the question and panicked! After sharing beds on business trips, if my current boss said we had a trip I would panic and say something stupid like “umm I might be busy” rather than “eew I don’t want to sleep with you gross people”.

  21. DeMinimis*

    Three nights is nothing, I once had a training that lasted two weeks and was all the way on the other side of the country!

    It got very, very tiring by the end [doesn’t help that I disliked the job anyway] but overall I like business travel since someone else covers expenses.

    1. Ann Furthermore*

      Yeah, I could do 3 days in my sleep. Twice last year I had to go to Europe for work for 2 weeks. Awesome if it’s vacation, just a huge drag if it’s work.

  22. Anonymous*

    Wow, this is bizarre. I cannot imagine not going on a business trip because “something may come up” with my social circle. Especially when it’s a training program to benefit ME! I have to travel about two or three times a year for work. Sometimes I miss out on things. Sometimes other friends miss out on other things because they are out of town, or working, or have the flu, or feel like staying in. Big deal!

    Thankfully, my company always gets us our own hotel rooms and I also kind of love having a big bed all to myself and watching cable TV and secret-eating regional chips and candies in bed…but that’s me.

  23. Mike C.*

    I just want to check here, but is this three day period over a holiday or anything like that? If not, these folks are acting rather silly.

    1. LV*

      If it’s a bit more than 4 months out, it could be Memorial Day weekend. Although I’m assuming the OP would have mentioned that.

  24. Rat Racer*

    None of the employees on your team are breastfeeding moms are they? Or have other childcare (or other care-giving obligations) obligations that would keep them from travelling?

    The OP clearly stated that the team members objected due to social obligations — I’m just putting it out there that parents of young children might have trouble travelling. No matter how much advance notice is given.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I’d think they’d mention it though — that’s such an easy and obvious reason to give! (Although the OP says none of them have kids, so that’s likely not it.)

      (Although, for the record, women can and do travel while breastfeeding. My sister, who breastfed, went on a 3-night business trip when my niece was a few months old. She pumped while she was away, obviously. Not that every woman chooses to do that, or should have to — just making the point that it’s not out of the question.)

      1. JoAnna*

        That’s amazing that your sister was able to do that! I’m currently breastfeeding my son (he’s 3 months) and I can barely pump enough milk to keep a day ahead of his needs. There’d be no way I could pump enough to cover a 3-day business trip, and packing the milk in dry ice and FedExing to to daycare would be a huge pain (not to mention expensive).

        I suppose that if I had to, I could have him fed formula while I was gone and then just pump & dump on the trip, but that’d wreak havoc on my supply. Thankfully, my job doesn’t require travel.

              1. Jen in RO*

                I think it’s TMI when that food preparation involves a body part that is normally seen only by your doctor and significant other. I don’t mind it, just like I don’t mind any other types of TMI information, but I see where Wilton is coming from.

                1. Anonymous*

                  @JoAnna: As an analogy, I’d like talk about getting my dog ‘fixed’. Would you care to discuss the human equivalent with casual acquaintances?

                2. JoAnna*

                  @Anonymous, are you comparing surgical removal of an animal’s genitalia to a woman pumping breastmilk to feed her child? Seriously? That’s not even apples and oranges. It’s more like… apples and motor oil. SMH.

            1. Elizabeth West*

              Just substitute it with a sandwich, like they do on How I Met Your Mother when they’re talking about weed:

              “There’d be no way I could [fix enough sandwiches] to cover a 3-day business trip, and packing the [sandwiches] in dry ice and FedExing to to daycare would be a huge pain (not to mention expensive).”


      2. Mander*

        When my niece was just a few months old my sister had to go to another city for a conference. She and her husband decided that they would both go (with their own room, of course) so that he could watch the baby while she was in sessions, and she could breastfeed during lunch breaks.

        Of course, something like this only works if you have another half that is able to take the time off and you can afford it. My sister makes quite a bit of money and her husband works from home, so it wasn’t that difficult for them.

    2. the_scientist*

      It’s not just childcare- some people are caring for elderly or ill parents or inlaws, or have spouses who are sick and require care. (Even people who don’t have kids have legitimate reasons not to travel!). Having said that “social obligations” is such a lame excuse that I wonder, like many commentors, if something else is up.

      When I travel it’s to academic conferences and I thoroughly enjoy them so I wouldn’t turn down an all-expenses-paid training opportunity UNLESS there were some extenuating circumstances. Like, if I’m barely keeping my head above water with my regular work and my boss wants me to take three days “off”? Then I’d hesitate.

  25. Ann Furthermore*

    I was ready to say that people should just suck it up and deal, and agree that the excuse of possible future social engagements was incredibly lame.

    Then reading through the comments, I realized there is one thing that would make me absolutely recoil: sharing a hotel room. I know some companies do it to save money, but to me it’s just such a violation of privacy and person space. Granted, I’m rather anti-social, and a creature that craves alone time, but still. I’m a professional adult, not a junior high-school girl at a slumber party, and I would appreciate being treated as such. Having to share a room with someone I may not know well, and share a bathroom, try to agree on TV viewing, or whatever, would just make my skin crawl.

    Not to mention the other, more personal stuff — like what if one person snores? Or talks in their sleep? Or gets a bout of gastro-intestinal uproar after dinner one night?

    I worked for a very stingy consulting firm years ago, and I went to a client site to do a 3-day training course. The 2 consultants that were already there, a man and a woman, were sharing a 2 bedroom suite. Even that would make me really uncomfortable. When I got there, the woman said that I should have stayed in their suite and used the sofa bed to save money. I said no, and she was surprised. I told her a version of what I stated above: that we are here to conduct business, not to have a slumber party.

    Now many companies, including mine, ask people to share rental cars, and that’s fine. No sense in 3 people renting cars if they’re all staying at the same hotel, and going back and forth to and from the same place each day.

    1. Wilton Businessman*

      I have no problem sharing a two bedroom suite with another person as long as there are separate bathrooms. I don’t do pull-out couches.

      1. Ann Furthermore*

        If it was someone I knew, and had a rapport with, I’d be OK with that too. But not if it was someone I’d never met before. That happens in consulting — show up at the client site for the engagement, and there are people there you’ve never worked with before.

    2. Jeff A.*

      I worked for a company that did a huge out-of-town event for all it’s office staff once each year (about 2,000 employees). They would actually offer those employees who were willing to share a hotel room a cash per diem: if two people share a room, each received $50/night. Most employees were happy to share, leaving those who need alone time the option to have their own room.

      Generally we were put up in hotels that cost $250-300 / night (though probably less with the group rate), so it was a win/win for the company and employees.

      1. Ann Furthermore*

        Now that’s a smart way to handle it. I’m not sure I could share a room, even with the lure of $50 per night, but plenty of other people don’t have my introvert tendencies and would be happy to get it.

        1. Jeff A.*

          It worked very well for them. Anecdotally, I’d guess that around 75% of the employees shared a room. Not sure how different the percentage would have been if the cash incentive wasn’t there.

          And I’m with you – I opted for my own room instead of the per diem.

      2. Sunflower*

        I like this idea. At my current job, I would definitely not want to share a room with any of my co-workers. However if some of my past jobs had required travel, I wouldn’t have minded sharing with certain people.

        1. Jeff A.*

          I should mention that employees who chose to share a room could choose their roommate if they had someone specific in mind, otherwise they were randomly paired up. It was a good system.

  26. Wilton Businessman*

    I think your management is being unreasonable saying either everyone goes or nobody goes.

    That being said, what a great company to work for if they are offering their employees out-of-town training. My take on it would be if you don’t want to go, don’t go. It’s your professional development and if you don’t want to get better at your job, then that says something about you.

    AAM question 6 months from now: My company won’t give me cool projects because I didn’t go to the out-of-town training they offered.

    1. Victoria Nonprofit*

      In this case, the funding is contingent on everyone on the team going (which is weird, but whatever).

    2. fposte*

      That’s what I’m thinking. The resisters are acting like they’ve been asked if they want to join the gang at dinner, not like this is an opportunity that’s going to provide advancement for the people who attend.

    3. MissDisplaced*

      I thought that weird at first too, but maybe the training is a group rate sort of thing and/or needs a minimum of X number of people for it to proceed.

  27. A Teacher*

    I don’t think the request is a problem, as long as you do as others have suggested: Separate rooms and no forced togetherness after the conference/training is done for the day. Maybe also allow for lunches to be taken separately if there is a 30-45 minute lunch break. People like their space away from work.

    1. Judy*

      I went to a conference once with 3 co-workers, one who was my boss at the time. My boss picked a hotel that wasn’t the conference hotel in Boston, but was a 15 minute drive to the nearest T station, and 45 minute ride. We would meet at breakfast at 6:30, look at the day’s schedule, decide who was going to which seminars. Drive in the car to the station and take 2 different subway lines to get to the conference. Had lunch together. When the conference was done, we went off sight seeing, had dinner. Most nights I didn’t get back to my room until 10pm.

      That was not a good trip. The only saving thing was the two co-workers who were not my boss are two of my favorite people, and I’ve even gone on trips to Europe with both of them.

      Regular business travel, I can just say, my company’s conference rooms look pretty much the same whether you’re in the US, Brazil or Europe.

  28. Mike C.*

    Wilton is right, we should be commending this business for their willingness to invest in their employees. So few companies do this despite the obvious value.

  29. hamster*

    I had a team building event where we shared rooms and some beds. They were huge beds and i shared with another woman co-worker so i did not feel much intruded or anything. We didn’t feel the need to talk in bed or something. there were plenty of activities. She retired to the room early after dinner ( perhaps at 10 pm or so) i stayed a couple of hours more, then i came to the room, showered , got changed in pajamas , got into my side of bed and slept. No biggie.
    At the other team building event i attended i was the only girl, so it was very easy not having to share anything :)
    I don’t know, most people treated it at something fun , we cracked some jockes but nobody made a fuss. But , of course, it was not in any way mandatory. Those were friday-evening to sunday morning trips to a ski resort, but most people were genuinely ok and glad to go.

  30. Julia*

    I used to work where we had to share a room on travel, ( hated it), and this was for a big company with lots of resources. If I were still there, I think I’d ask for my own room and I would pay the difference. Now, where I work, we always get our own room. Much better! I was recently on a one month assignment and we were put up at a residence suite type hotel and it was so nice to come back each evening and close the door and be alone! I cannot imagine having to share a bed with anyone! No way.

  31. COT*

    OP, is there a particular reason why your management has declared this an “all or none” opportunity? If your team would still gain from going without a few members, it might make sense to push back on that requirement. It would be a pity that several people would miss out on this great opportunity because someone isn’t able/willing to travel. That would be doubly true if they had a solid excuse, like family or medical needs.

  32. Anonymous*

    These employees of the OP remind me of my own coworker. She cannot give a definitive answer of either yes or no. There is always a contingent statement attached either about social life or her family (read: kid). But for me it’s not traveling. It’s about helping out after hours.

  33. Jeff A.*

    Okay, I am a huge introvert. I think I would have a similar reaction as these few employees. I have no children, no pets, and no “legitimate” obligations that would keep me from traveling for a 3 day trip once in a great while. I just plain am not comfortable with the idea.

    THAT SAID, I’ve done it. Many times, for one of my previous employers. If I were one of your employees in this situation, here’s what I’d want to hear from my manager:

    “I understand that not everyone enjoys or is comfortable being away from their home, especially for a work-related obligation. Please understand that this type of business travel will remain the exception, not the rule, but that given the circumstances, the company has made this a mandatory trip for all employees.”

    A few other key points that I’d want to hear/review to allay my anxiety about traveling with all my coworkers:
    -shared hotel room = not ideal, but okay / shared bed = dealbreaker
    -the training is structured so that you will be on site participating from [whenever]am to [whenever]pm. employees will have the option of exploring the local area on their own or spending the time outside training how they see fit. if an employee “social” dinner occurs, it will be optional and no one should be pressured to attend. Actually, my thoughts on this is that management should have nothing to do with dinner/after dinner cocktails etc. The social/outgoing employees are going to work it out and get together to organize this on their own, and the introverts or so-inclined will be happy to have the night free to do what they want or retire to their room to “recharge.”

    Just my 2 cents.

  34. Jamie*

    Just out of curiosity how many people are you talking about and is onsite training an option?

    IME every time we’ve looked into scheduling training with travel for multiple employees it always ended up being much cheaper to pay extra for them to come to us.

  35. Bea W*

    I expected the objections to be things like people not being able to find child care overnight, not “Wah! I don’t have any plans yet, but staying overnight at the company’s expense will put a damper on my social life for 3 evenings!” Seriously? Even offering up something like “I’m really uncomfortable staying away overnights.” or “I get really car sick and don’t take long trips.” would have come across as less whiney. Heck if your going with the crimp in my social life excuse at least put some effort into making it look like you actually have plans or something you are legitimately bummed out about missing.

    1. bearing*

      Maybe they’re not comfortable bringing up family issues.

      I could especially see this if they were part of a two-earner family and the other spouse has to travel frequently and on shorter notice. My husband travels quite a lot, sometimes on short notice, and that only works out well because I never have to travel. They might be thinking, “What if my spouse gets sent out of town the same week?” The solution, since there’s plenty of time, would be to set up a backup child care option, but if you’re used to not having to do this (or if your kids are special needs, etc.) I can attest that it can seem really daunting.

        1. Anonymous*

          I don’t have kids but I think at my next job I should pretend to have some, so I can use them as an excuse to get out of doing stuff.

          1. Anon*

            I’m going to start naming my fictional children right now. Like that episode of Friends where Joey was “Joseph” when he was temping at Chandler’s job. He had a wife and kids and they had personalities and did things together.


            1. Jamie*

              Love, love this episode.

              “We have two kids, no three…we just had another one!”

              “That’s some pretty powerful imaginary sperm you’ve got there.”

              Forget Ross and Rachel – Joey and Chandler were my favorite couple on that show, hands down.

      1. Bea W*

        Then why not say that instead of making up some weak story about how being out if town might impose on your social life and then claim you actually have no plans. I’m totally perplexed how anyone with a legit hardship would go that route, and if they did I would seriously question their judgement. If you have any interest in advancing in your job, getting raises, or just looking to keep a neutral relationship with your manager, there are few excuses that are worse than “I might miss out on my social life (for 2 out of the 365 nights in the year.)”

        I’m surprised by the leaps being made in general of “I might miss out on my social life.” being cover for a legit family or personal issue.

  36. PoohBear McGriddles*

    Sharing hotel rooms should not even be an option. Sharing beds should be illegal (unless it’s voluntary, if you know what I mean!). There are just too many things that could go wrong, subjecting the company to liability. Theft, sexual assault, nekkid pics ending up on the internet. Granted 99.99% of the time the worst that would happen is you learn your coworker has some weird bedtime or morning rituals, but why open that can of worms just to save a few bucks.
    With that said, business travel is often a reality. It sounds like these team members are young (fluid social life, no dependents), so maybe their concern that a flash mob might break out while they’re in a HoJo conference room in Peoria is well-founded. Still, it doesn’t seem like an unreasonable job requirement.
    It does seem unreasonable that it’s everyone or no one. What happens if Suzy comes down with the flu that weekend? Does everyone stay home?

  37. Dani*

    I live in New Zealand and worked previously for a large indigenous tertiary provider. We would go at least twice a year on overnight stays, often for several nights on marae (Google it). Often there were up to a hundred of us in a room.

  38. Elizabeth West*

    But their explanation that they might miss out on social engagements — social engagements that don’t even exist yet! — doesn’t cut it, not by a long shot.

    I agree with this. It’s three days, for crying out loud. Sounds like they’re whining out loud.

  39. books*

    Is it so wrong to offer them 4 months to find other employment that if more accommodating to potential social obligations?

    1. books*

      Assuming that no one is sharing beds or rooms or too much time together and given that the OP said they don’t have pets or families… And also assuming they don’t acquire pets or families in the next 4 months.
      This just seems to be part of being an adult and having a job.

      1. Mena*

        Thank you, books. I couldn’t agree more.

        The employees are being inflexible. Do they want their employer to treat them with the same inflexibilty when something comes up in life?

  40. WriterGirl*

    I have to travel a fair amount with my current job. I don’t mind it for the most part. Like others have previously mentioned, I’m fine as long as I have some “me” time. For example, my entire team loves to go to bars and casinos when we travel – I don’t drink and I don’t gamble. I never make a big deal about it – I just say, “Hey dudes, I’m doing my own thing tonight. Have a great time!” Granted, they finally stopped pressuring me after about a year of me telling them this.

    I frequently have to spend 12+ hours with them, plus dinners out. I basically stay the minimum amount of time that I need to, keep a smile on my face, and peace out after dessert (a.k.a before they leave for the casino/bar).

    This could be what’s going on in this case. Maybe the co-workers are afraid that things will get a little out of control. After all, no one should have to see their boss dirty dancing or headbutting another employee (yes – these things really happened!).

    For what it’s worth – I’m a young (early 30s), single woman.

    1. Judy*

      I can’t imagine a company would fly someone 200 miles. I’d expect them to rent minivans and travel in groups of 4-6. Anything under 7 hours of driving will take less time than flying, if there is not a direct flight.

      Once I did fly where I could drive 6 hours, but it was a direct flight, and the hotel we were staying in had a $40/day valet fee. The cost of rental + gas + valet fee for the week was more than the plane ticket plus ground transport. I got there about 3.5 hours after leaving my home, instead of 6 hours.

  41. Graciosa*

    There has been a lot of focus on how to arrange the schedule to make it more manageable for introverts – which, as an introvert, I appreciate – but we do need to keep in mind that not everyone is an introvert. There are people who need to be around other people (even if I don’t think they’re the luckiest in the world!) and a good conference host needs to address their needs as well. Leaving them moping around wondering what to do from 5:15 until bedtime is not a kindness.

    For most multi-day conferences, there is usually one group dinner (which is reasonable and understandable) and I think this is fair if you manage the timing (limited duration you’ve given to attendees in advance, preferably on a low-stress day). For other nights, it helps to identify someone to coordinate another activity for those who would otherwise feel stranded. Communicate this well in advance to reduce stress levels caused by wondering (whether it’s “Will I ever get a minute to myself?” or “Am I going to be stuck all alone in a strange location with no one to talk to?”).

    The messaging could be along the lines of, “The conference ends each day at 5, after which your time is your own except for the group dinner which will be held from 6:00-7:30 at the Hotel Restaurant on Thursday. For those who are interested, Tom is looking for people to join him on Monday night at the Sporting Event, Bob is planning to visit Local Karaoke Club on Tuesday, and Samantha will be heading to Downtown Club on Wednesday. Please contact those individuals if you’re interested in participating.”

    As long as these are genuinely optional events with no unspoken consequences, this can take care of both the introverts and the extroverts on the team.

    1. Anonymous*

      The extroverts will like the open time as much as the introverts, they’ll just spend it hanging out with their coworkers instead of hiding in their room.

    2. Rayner*

      FYI, this is a training event, for adults, who are being sent their for their work.

      Not summer camp.

      Employees are responsible for finding their own entertainment. That includes working out who wants to do karaoke, who wants to go and see a show, and who wants to chill at the hotel bar.

      The OP states this is four months out. They have time, or they’ll make time, or they sit in their rooms and watch TV. Whatever. But they don’t get babied and cosseted because they’re extroverts or introverts.

      Employer provides (or pays for) the transport, hotel rooms (no bed sharing, pref own rooms, no more than 2 to a room if possible) and comping meals.

      That’s it.

      1. Graciosa*

        I can understand your approach, but still stand by mine. I have been involved in many of these events (and in reviewing the feedback) and participant expectations are a bit different for planned conferences than they are for individual business trips. There is generally at least a secondary purpose of “team building” in having these activities off site and together as a group. The trick is to enable the “team building” without mandating too much of it.

        Conferences where everyone is left to their own devices most nights tend to get negative feedback about the lack of planned activities.

  42. Mena*

    A lot of folks are assuming that colleagues will need to share hotel rooms. Since this is not done in the grown-up business world, let’s take this off the table.

    Right, OP? No shared hotel rooms. Right?

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Yep. Different fields have different norms on this. It’s not uncommon in some nonprofit areas and (from what I can tell from commenters here) academia.

        1. DeMinimis*

          From what I can tell, government doesn’t make you share hotel rooms, at least not at the federal level.

          We had the sequester last fiscal year and they moved toward just restricting travel in general, and especially trying to reduce the paying of mileage. Even then, though, restriction generally just means having to get approvals from additional people.

        2. Dr. Speakeasy*

          Yeah, the thing with academia is that you often have a set amount to spend on travel (for example I can apply for $350/semester). I can choose to stay by myself and cover the extra expenses or I can choose to find people who I know and am willing to share a bed with and spend less money.

      1. Felicia*

        It’s common in both academia and non profits, and grown ups work at universities and in non profit organizations. Sharing a bed though is a little weirder, and I’d be uncomfortable with that.

        1. Cassie*

          We sometimes make our students (grad students in most of the cases) share rooms. Our faculty would likely never share a room – ever. I can’t even imagine floating that idea around.

          FWIW, the travel costs for the faculty come from their own extramural or discretionary funding. The dept doesn’t provide anything, and there’s no maximum limit for lodging (theoretically we are supposed to use the most inexpensive option available, but faculty aren’t going to stay at a seedy motel that’s only 25% of the cost of the nearby Hilton/ Marriott/ Holiday Inn / Doubletree /etc).

      2. vvondervvoman*

        Non-profit is such a wide range, though. I work at a non-profit and travel about 1x/month and I’ve never shared a room. My co-worker and I recently asked our supervisor why we don’t have to share and she told us that we could volunteer to share, but there would never be any pressure to because it’s inappropriate to put employees in a potentially awkward situation.

        This is a large non-profit (~400 employees across 20+ counties) but we’re not particularly well-funded.

    1. Sharm*

      Individual hotel rooms were gone once the recession hit. For me, it was either share a room or don’t go to the conference at all.

    2. Anonymous*

      But maybe the employees THINK they’ll have to share rooms and this is part of their hesitation….has this been covered with them?

  43. Brett*

    So, the entire team has no dependents (or pets somehow?), which makes me think a relatively young group. The training is more than 4 months out, which puts it in late May/early June?

    Is the training, by chance, on a weekend? Because in that age range at that time of year, people worry about two things socially that occur on almost every weekend:
    Friends’ graduations
    Friends’ weddings

    Neither are things they can be certain of right now, but are highly likely social engagements. I remember years where I attended 6+ different weddings in 4 weeks in June, and my wife attended over a dozen weddings in June. And neither social engagement is going to move because someone has business training; and weddings, in particular, can lead to some very bitter feelings if someone skips out for business training (especially someone who might be invited to be in the wedding party).

    1. Judy*

      I don’t think that I’ve ever been to a graduation that I hadn’t seen coming for at least 4 years.

      I’ve never been in a wedding that I haven’t known about for at least 9 months in advance. And I’m less sure but still think that I’ve never gotten a wedding invitation that I didn’t know about before I received the invitation. At our family dinner on Christmas Eve, the dates for two weddings this year were announced, one in June and one in September.

      1. ThursdaysGeek*

        And I’ve gotten a wedding invite only a couple of weeks before the event. (to add another data point)

        1. Lore*

          But a wedding is more likely to be on a weekend than not, which means unless the trip would require coming back later than the end of the workday on a Friday, it probably won’t conflict.

    2. KellyK*

      That’s a good point, though the flip side of that is that if a couple can’t give a few months’ notice, they should realize that not everyone will be able to make it.

  44. ThursdaysGeek*

    I keep hearing people saying it would be different if they had families and kids. But in many previous comments, it’s been very clear that it shouldn’t be different, that single people can have reasons to want their own time too, and having kids is not the only good excuse for avoiding an extra work event. Why is this case any different? (I personally think they should go too, but want to know why having or not having kids should matter, when it hasn’t in comments on previous responses.)

    1. KellyK*

      I don’t think it’s so much that having kids matters in and of itself as that having family/personal obligations is an actual reason to not be able to travel, while something vague about possible social plans really isn’t. Whether it’s your toddler, your dog, or your ailing grandmother, some people have responsibilities at home that they can’t really hand to someone else for three days.

    2. Jamie*

      I think it’s the excuses being offered is oddly specific and weird which is why it’s different.

      I am not in favor of special rights for parents, but I am in favor of anyone with a legitimate issue or obligation being heard and if possible accommodated. It would be understandable if a knee jerk reaction to an event some months away was concern about not having someone to watch the kids, or an elderly dog that won’t do well in a kennel and you have no one to come stay, or a wedding which was scheduled, or preplanned vacation, or whatever.

      It’s the fact that they are saying no based on some social events that may possibly come up, but may not is what’s weird.

      So it’s not like it’s social events vs child care issues, it’s social events vs “maybe my kid will have a cold and my spouse break his leg at the same time, and the water heater could die that weekend so I can’t possibly go.”

      And FWIW both with small kids and special needs pets sometimes it isn’t possible to send them elsewhere for 3 days and not everyone has someone who can drop everything and come stay in their home for a couple of days. So it would be understandable for someone with those kinds of concerns to be more reticent about planning in advance than what the OPs reports have offered up.

      1. Laura*

        Yeah, if my husband were not available a given time, I cannot travel. Our children are still pre-school-aged and not only accustomed to only staying at home, but only to staying with us. “Boarding” them with someone else or getting a more-than-hours babysitter would freak them right the heck out. (And me, to be honest.)

    3. meh*

      There’s a pretty big difference between leaving your friends at the bar for three days and leaving a toddler at home alone for three days. One is a minor disappointment, the other will likely result in jail time.

      With friends, you have a choice to see them or not. You have no choice with children, especially young ones. They are entirely dependent on you and your spouse for their care. You’re morally and legally responsible for their care and well-being. The same is true for truly-dependent older relatives and for pets. It’s really an apples and oranges situation.

  45. Anonymous*

    I’m looking forward to a subsequent email: “Dear AAM, My manager has informed us that we will have to go on a training in 4 months. The company is paying all expenses but I’m not sure if I should go due to possible undefined social plans. Is this legal??”. :)

  46. Vicki*

    Most of the discussion on this question revolves around the few employee’s “lame excuse” for not wanting to attend. Only one person (Wilton Businessman) briefly commented on management’s “all or none” requirement.

    I’d like to push on that just a bit.

    OP says “There is a 3-day-long training course I’d like my whole team to attend”.
    Note the wording: “I’d like my … team to attend”. Not “Everyone is required to attend for purposes of keeping their jobs.”

    Then “the company has offered to pay in full for the course fees, travel expenses, and the employees’ time.” The word “offered” makes this a “nice thing to have”; again, not a requirement for their jobs.

    “a couple of my team have expressed reservations”.
    “Honestly, it really is a great course that the rest of us are stoked for.”

    Apparently, not everyone is “stoked” about this.

    AAM’s response: If there’s a business reason for wanting them there, you’re well within your rights — legally, ethically, spiritually, and all else — to tell them it’s part of the job.

    I don’t see a business reason in “a really great course” that “I’d like my whole team to attend.”

    I would like to see the OP go back to management and ask why their offer to underwrite the costs is an all or nothing deal. Perhaps, as some have suggested, they get a better price on the registration for the course if more people attend, but obviously that would be balanced by the higher cost of travel, hotel, and meals for more people. Thus, they’re likely save some money if a few people stay home and those people can “man the office” while their co-workers were out for 3 days.

    Remind management that the team will be getting _no work done_ while they’re all at the 3-day course (plus travel to and from is going to suck up additional days.) Management may suddenly realize that the better “business case” is not to be quite so rigid, balancing skills development for those who are interested with actually getting work done for the few who aren’t interested.

    1. Wilton Businessman*

      I can make several great business cases for the whole team going (from experience):
      1. We’re getting into business X and nobody here knows about business X.

      2. We need to upgrade to Software 5.x and we’re on 3.x

      3. We just bought another company and we need to integrate A, B, & C.

      1. Vicki*

        So, I’m asking.

        I don’t see anything like that in the initial letter. I see “a really great course” that “I’d like my whole team to attend.”

        We’ve had letters about “a really great management book I’d like my whole team to read”.

        The last time I was in a department where the manager had a “a really great course” that “she’d like her whole team to attend.” it was Landmark’s “The Forum”. At least it was held locally on site. (And I had a very bad cold and missed out. How sad.).

    2. Vicki*

      I’m not even discussing the travel requirement. I’m talking about _making the course mandatory_ not because the training seems mandatory but because the managers are insisting that they’ll only fund it if everyone goes.

      That’s NOT a good enough reason to make something “mandatory”.

    3. Penny*

      I would be opposed to a mandatory 3 days away from home if…1; I had to share a room. 2; If i had to pay out of my own pocket to get a private room . 2; If i am not being paid for every hour I am required to be somewhere for the benefit of my employer. 4; If something really does come up…death of a loved one. My question is, is this a legal requirement in my job field, or a preference of my employer?

  47. ChristineSW*

    Whoa this thread sure blew up!!

    I would not like constant travel as a mandatory part of a job. However, what the OP is wanting to do does not sound unreasonable at all, especially with what I think is generous notice. The “social obligation” excuses sound whiny to me, if I’m being honest. It might be a good idea to talk to these individuals–preferably with each one privately–to get a sense of what the reservations are. Make them feel like they can be honest with you–you never know if there’s a legit problem that someone is too afraid to bring up.

  48. Bea W*

    It’s interesting to see the number of people who are skeeved at the idea of sharing a bed. Definitely not my choice either. I prefer my own room for the downtime but the unthinkable weirdness that would be splitting your typical hotel bed wouldn’t be the linefor me. For me trying to sleep on the floor is worse. There would have to be ground rules.
    1. Clothing is NOT optional.
    2. Practice impeccable hygeine. Use of mouthwash before bed is strongly encouraged. Use of perfume or cologne is strongly discouraged. If you smell, get back in the shower and fix it.
    3. No cuddling, spooning, or overly friendly touching (unless you both into that kind of thing)
    4. If you must fart in bed, it is absolutely forbidden to fluff the sheets. (Unless you both think it’s hilarious, then what you do is strictly between you and the bedpost.)
    5. Speaking of the bedpost, don’t leave you’re chewing gum on it. Not only will it lose its flavor, but it’s also gross.
    6. No eating or drinking in bed.
    7. Please refrain from gross personal habits while in bed such as nnose picking, nail clipping and filing, nail biting, picking at things, scratching anything in the crotchular region, licking your contact lenses, fapping, and removal of toe jam, belly button lint, or ear wax. This is not a finite list.
    8. When in doubt ask yourself “Would I do this is front of my grandmother? Would I want my grandmother to do this in front f me?” If the answer to either of those questions is “EEEWWW! NO! A”, don’t go there!

    Nighty night!

    1. fposte*

      “Speaking of the bedpost, don’t leave you’re chewing gum on it. Not only will it lose its flavor, but it’s also gross.”

      Okay, I know the song and all, but do humans really do that? Because that’s just hideous.

  49. MikiSA*

    I had something similar (and longer) happen on my previous workplace. East European country, and this trip was going for a full week to Istanbul, Turkey (7 days). Tried to get out of it, but as one of managers at the time (workplace was calling everyone manager pretty much) I was required to attend. Airfare, accommodation and everything else was included (no per-diems though). I was sharing one bedroom with two other female coworkers. Getting up at 6:30 am, leaving motel at 7:30, full days of programs: visits to numerous tourist spots, different universities, mosques including prayer time (I stayed outside), more meetings with different local government officials, and every single night, around 8-10 pm, except the night before out flight back: power point presentation of more than 150 slides on topics hosts thought might be useful to know: from office management to suggestion it is recommended to change socks! a few times a week! I kid you not. All in Turkish version of English language.

  50. BW*

    Those employees of the OP definitely need to suck it up. What, did their mothers never make them clean their rooms or pick up their dirty socks when they were little? Nobody wanted to do that either. Plus, unlike a lot of the other crappy stuff in life that we don’t want to do but have to anyway, this is an one-time deal, only 3 days, 4 months notice…I know we don’t like it when someone says “at least be grateful you have a job” or “it could be worse”, but oh my god, this applies here.

    And well I seem to be the only one, but I personally don’t think it’s a big deal to share room/bed with same-gender co-workers. Unless I hated or was grossed out by any of them, which I’m not. They’re not my friends, and I wouldn’t be thrilled if I had to do it, but I wouldn’t find it repulsive or anything. Plus if it’s only the occasional trip, I wouldn’t say anything.

    Then again, I love my job so #1 I don’t think they’d make me do this, and #2 if they did I wouldn’t risk jeopardizing my reputation over this. I definitely want to pick my battles very very carefully here because I never worked anywhere better! Challenging/interesting work, great hours (purely 9-5, which is unheard of in my profession, and no one keeps tabs on how long your lunches are or how many minutes you’re late/leave early), small group of smart and pleasant coworkers, higher pay than previous jobs, 20+ PTO days per year not counting the federal holidays, great insurance…yeah I’d suck up a LOT to keep this job.

  51. ReanaZ*

    I’m waiting for the next AAM letter… “When I accepted my current job, it was supposed to require NO travel, but my boss wants me to go out of town for a 3-day training. She doesn’t know that [I have an embarrassing medical condition; my partner has cancer; my gran is on her deathbed, etc.], and cannot comfortably leave town for 3 days. I’m normally a very private person and this was so unexpected that when she sprung it on me, I got really flustered. I said I wasn’t sure because I had to check some ‘social obligations’, hoping she’d back off and give me space to think about how to handle it (lame excuse, I know… it was the first thing that popped in my head and now I’m kicking myself). But instead she pressed and pressed about what those were and I didn’t want to blurt out “Cleaning up blood vomited by my partner after his chemo treatment” in front of the whole team, so I finally had to admit I had nothing scheduled and that I was considered about things that ‘might’ come up (‘things’ being medical emergencies, although I didn’t say that). Now I don’t know what to do! I’m afraid she thinks I’m a total flake resisting good professional opportunities for nonsense reasons, but I just don’t know how to tell her about my real situation. I’d prefer not to, but I also don’t want her thinking I’m refusing to go to a training (possibly jeopardizing the grant funding for the rest of our team to go) for silly reasons. What should I do?!”

    …because seriously nothing else make sense. I’d set the team standard that the expectation is that everyone on the team is required to go, but if anyone has a legitimate excuse for an exception, they can request an exception from you directly. Then follow up with the resisting employees individually, privately, one last time to make sure there’s not a real reason the employee hasn’t brought up, and hold everyone accountable for going to this training.

  52. JennW*

    I would absolutely never share a bed with a co-worker and I cannot believe that would be required. There should always be respect for people’s privacy. Some people are rather choosy about who is in bed with them. I didn’t realize that was a flaw.

    I find it interesting that everyone seems so keen on this kind of travel. Quite frankly every time I go to any training it seems to be a huge waste of time with lots of talk talk talk. I have come to think of people who host “Team Building”seminars as snake oil sales people.

    Some of us are introverts who need and want our own space. Some of us find people amazingly draining and when the day is done want to be away from them. However, most of us introverts are very hard workers, don’t want drama and don’t cause problems.

    So to those people who cannot understand that others want a work/life balance and that when their day is done, so is their desire to see anyone that they work with..well that is not easy for me to understand. I often work for several hours after I get home…but I am home!

    I wonder if a part of the training that you all like ever has to do with “Embracing the Differences in Others,” “Working Successfully with Different Personality Types” “What is Your Color…Red, Blue, Green?” That last one was my most recent. I asked the trainer why if all of this was to show how people are different and should be accepted were all of the trainings geared towards extroverts? He just said..”Ah very good question!” and continued prattling on.

    So whatever “really great course” sparked this thread…I hope it really was, because I’ve noticed that a certain sort think any kind of training is great!!

  53. SleepDisorderGal*

    Okay, so I have an enormous dilemma pertaining to a 4-day mandatory corporate retreat coming up in one month. I have night terrors–talk and sometimes yell in my sleep–and I have obstructive sleep apnea which causes me to snore like a grizzly bear. Needless to say, I cannot share a room. However, as I mentioned, the trip is mandatory. Our tiny start-up company has 8 employees, and we outsource HR tasks. My boss has no boundaries, and in fact he would take it as a personal insult and rejection if I told him I couldn’t come due to medical reasons. What do I do? The retreat is in the middle of the week, on mandatory work days, so I can’t claim a trip, etc. Any advice you have to offer would be greatly appreciated.

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