I’m supposed to share a bed with a coworker on a business trip

A reader writes:

I started a new job recently and was told that there was a department-wide meeting coming up in another city in March. In total, they are flying around 45 people in for two days/one night. As I’m leading one of the sessions, I was in the organizer’s spreadsheet and found a list of people and their assigned rooms, as well as the type of room. I assume I was assigned my roommate based on gender (as a cis female, this itself doesn’t bother me but I see it as problematic as a whole).

I checked online and was shocked to find that the room has one bed. Granted, it looks like two beds pushed together so there’s room to build a pillow barrier (joke) but am I right to be weirded out by this? When I asked the organizer’s assistant about this, she confirmed that the rooms have one bed and a pull out couch. The couch looks like it could fit a 12-year-old. In total, about 15 rooms that are booked are set up this way.

I’m barely one month into the role and am still trying to keep a low profile. I’ve never had to share a room on work trips before but was willing to suck it up for one night. I know that if I say something, I can probably get switched to my own room, but part of me doesn’t want to create a fuss.

In the end, I think I’m fine with the setup and will deal with it for one night. But, I want to let them know that this is not a great way of organizing a company event. Do you have a script so I can tell the organizer and my boss that (1) shared rooms/beds are not okay and (2) room assignment based on gender is not okay? In the future I hope that they can compromise on the 4 star hotel and find something within budget where I’m not sleeping directly next to a colleague. I can’t be the only one feeling this way.

If you’e expected to share a bed with a coworker, that’s not okay, period. It doesn’t matter if you’re willing to do it. It doesn’t matter if they’re trying to save money. Assigning people to share beds with colleagues is beyond the pale.

Now, maybe they are figuring that one person will get the bed and the other will get the pull-out couch. That’s not ideal, but at least it’s less outrageous. It would still be legitimate for you to complain if the couch looks tiny and uncomfortable, but we’d be lowering the scale of outrageousness.

If you’ve decided to deal with it for one night, that’s your call. But please know that if you don’t want to, you would be on very solid ground in saying, “I’ve looked at the room assignments and it looks like we have 30 people sharing beds. Is the expectation that someone in each room will use the pull-out couch? The photos online look like that may be tricky; they look tiny. Can we confirm with the hotel that the pull-out couches comfortably fit adults of various sizes?”

Also reasonable to say, either before or after the trip: “Sharing rooms can be prohibitively difficult for people who have medical needs that require privacy, or who snore or are paired with someone who snores, or have specific sleeping needs, or who simply need privacy at the end of a long work day.”

Also reasonable to say: “I’m not comfortable sharing a room with a coworker.” Caveat: be aware that there are some industries where room-sharing is common, as wild as that seems to people outside these fields. If you’re in one of them, you can still say this but you’d want to be aware of that context when you do.

I’m leaving gender out of these scripts because I don’t think it’s the strongest argument for you to use. They’re undoubtedly looking at gendered room assignments as similar to single-sex locker rooms or bathrooms; we have a bunch of social customs built around the idea that you can share intimate space with people of the same sex. That’s still problematic for all sorts of reasons (like the existence of trans people) but it’s likely to sidetrack from the core point, which is that people shouldn’t have to share rooms, period.

This is all a bit harder because you’re so new, but these are very reasonable boundaries to draw even when you’re new. You also might ask around to some coworkers and find out if this set-up is typical when the company books travel and if other people are as weirded out as you are. If they’re not, you can still raise it — but if you find other people willing to speak up with you, all the better.

{ 482 comments… read them below }

  1. CubeFarmer*

    There would be absolutely no way that I would share a bed with a co-worker. I would never, ever be willing to cross that line.

    1. goofBall*

      I am super good friends with a (now former) coworker. I have been to her house and she has been to mine, I was in her wedding, I have traveled to visit her once she moved away.

      I would still not be comfortable sharing a bed with her, especially during our time as coworkers!

      1. Lizzie*

        Same! I am very good friends with a current co-worker, although we don’t work together. I have been to her house, stayed at her beach house with a group, gone away for a girls weekend with her and others, but NEVER shared a bed. i’m not even comfortable sharing a room as I now snore horribly. No way i would ever entertain sharing a room with a CW, much less a bed. nope.

      2. Random Dice*

        I would be uncomfortable sharing a bed with my sister or best friend!

        Ugh. A coworker would be so awful.

        1. Steve*

          My response to this information would have so many expletives we would need to have a 2nd meeting with HR concerning my language. I would also be getting my own room at the LaQuinta next door and putting it on the business card.

        2. allathian*

          I’m barely willing to share a bed with my HUSBAND, so I won’t share a bed with anyone else, period. I’d rather sit up all night in the easy chair and be exhausted the next day, not that I’d be comfortable enough to sleep much if I had to share a room with a coworker in any event.

          I’m a very restless sleeper and my husband snores, so I simply don’t sleep well with him in the same room. The only time when I’m willing to share rooms is when we’re traveling, and I always sleep poorly when we do. It’s one reason why I no longer enjoy traveling. My husband also tells me that he sleeps better when we’re sleeping in separate rooms. I normally get up in the night at least once to go to the bathroom, and so does he (oh the joys of middle age!).

          For most of my childhood and teenage years, I shared a bedroom with my sister, but at least we didn’t have to sleep in the same bed even then. Between the ages of 0-5 and 8-12 I not only shared a room with my sister but also with my *parents*. When I was born my mom was a grad student and my dad was a TA and we lived in family housing on campus, later we lived in cramped conditions on a scientific research station while my dad was doing research for his Ph.D. The joys of academia! I’m glad that I never had to share an apartment with anyone other than my sister when I was a student, and even when I went to France as an exchange student I at least had my own room in the dorm.

          I guess I’m glad that my closest coworker is a man so there’s no chance I’ll ever have to share a hotel room with him when we go to our annual 2-day professional conference. Not that I’d want to share a room even with another cis woman, but because I’m a woman and he’s a man, our employer is willing to pay for single occupancy in full. Otherwise they’re willing to pay the cost of half of an equivalent double room and the employer would have to pay for the difference. Some medical needs would also let you qualify for a single room on the employer’s dime, but I don’t know which exactly.

          I’ve shared a room with a coworker exactly once when we went on a two-day offsite to a small spa hotel about 10 years ago (and man was I glad to have my chlorine allergy as an excuse not to go in the pool with my coworkers). What made it (barely) tolerable was that this coworker was a work friend. I say was because she retired not long afterwards, and we exchanged emails (I’m not on any social media) a few times a year, but we lost touch during the pandemic.

          And to clarify, I’m in Finland and sharing bedding is pretty much unthinkable here, even if you’re sharing a bed. Only the bottom sheet is shared on beds intended for two people.

        3. Zoe Karvounopsina*

          I have been on a couple of holidays where the request for two twin beds has been upgraded to a double because who doesn’t want a double???

          At the fifth hotel where this happened, my friend sat down, and said, very quietly, “I do not like these fanfic hotels.”

      3. Quill*

        Yes. It’s one thing if you’re willing to share a bed with a friend. But being expected to share a bed with a coworker is just too much in terms of not being able to set or maintain any boundaries or have any privacy when you’re on a work trip.

        1. Michelle Smith*

          Even my cat will only share a bed with me for about 5 minutes at a time before he goes back to his own space. I expel gas, I move a lot, and when I’m asleep I can’t control my flailing, turning, or loud snoring. No chance would I want to share a room with a coworker, but more than that, no chance would any coworker assigned to share a room with me would be comfortable literally at all!!

    2. Not on board*

      Agreed. My first reaction was Hellllll No. I would absolutely not share a bed, nor would I be willing to sleep on a pull out couch. I want to be comfortable.
      Sharing a room is bad enough but I can manage that, but this is beyond the pale. They should definitely speak up about the bed situation at a minimum.

      1. Chas*

        It might also be worth asking the hotel if the beds are strictly double beds, or if it’s possible to split them into 2 twin beds with separate bedding for each. I don’t know how common it is or if it’s a regional things, but I’ve been to a couple of hotels where the double beds where actually 2 single beds that were hooked together, and one hotel was able to split the beds apart and change the sheets when I pointed out that my grandmother and I would prefer separate beds. (We’d been moved into a different room at short notice as the family member who did the booking forgot to tell them my Grandmother was using a wheelchair and needed lift access). As OP mentioned that the beds look like 2 beds pushed together, then they may just be able to warn the hotel that they need 15 twin rooms, not 15 doubles.

        1. MsSolo (UK)*

          Yes, it’s standard in Europe (and depending where you are, having them set up as a double is an extra cost), but after a recent discussion on here I think in the US it’s much less common. LW’s language makes me think they are in Europe, in which case, definitely let the hotel know ahead of time that the rooms should be set up as two singles. Sofa-bed couches are usually only for kids; quite a few places I’ve stayed have an upper limit of 12 years old for them, so anyone over that age would need to be in a proper bed (and charged for it)

          (actually, taking both those things into account, if the hotel rooms are advertised as for two people the hotel is probably assuming the adults will either be sharing a double or in two singles, and the person booking doesn’t realise this)

          1. amoeba*

            Aaaaah, you have to share bedding in a double in the US? That explains a bit of my confusion, because honestly, for me it really doesn’t make any kind of difference whether I share a room with a (large) double bed or two small singles. I’ve happily done both with friends and fellow grad students, and would still do it with good friends without a second thought. Although I’d definitely think my work was being super cheap if they tried suggesting it and would probably push back because of that!

            Sharing bedding – now that’s something I don’t even like with my boyfriend, lol!

            1. Cyborg Llama Horde*

              Yes, hotel double beds in the US have one top sheet, one quilt/coverlet, etc.

              (And, to make things extra confusing, a “double bed” is a specific size here — the one I think of as “intended to sleep two people, but you like each other and neither of you is tall.” That said, while I wouldn’t have thought anything of it in my mid-twenties, in my mid-thirties I am not interested in sharing even a king sized bed with a coworker, as a general rule.)

              1. amoeba*

                Ah, yeah, the beds would typically be what I think is king size here – 1.80 m! And often separate mattresses as well, although that can vary. A queen size would already be considered on the small side and it seems a double is even smaller? Yeah, no, that’s not reasonable.

                1. ThatGirl*

                  For the US:
                  Twin/single bed – typically found in children’s rooms, enough room for one small to medium sized person to sleep comfortably

                  Full/double bed – rarely found in hotels; often used for one adult, but can be shared by two people who really like each other (about 50% larger than a twin)

                  Queen – typically found in hotel rooms in pairs; meant to be shared with a little room between people but not much.

                  King – typically found in hotel rooms meant for two people; roughly the width of two twin beds put together.

                  There are a few other random sizes out there, but those are the main ones.

                2. Hlao-roo*

                  These are the dimensions I found online for US bed sizes:

                  Twin/Single: 38in x 75 in (0.97m x 1.91 m)

                  Full/Double: 54 in x 75 in (1.37 m x 1.91 m)

                  Queen: 60 in x 80 in (1.52 m x 2.03 m)

                  King: 76 in x 80 in (1.93 m x 2.03 m)

                3. LJ*

                  I’d add – rooms with either 1 or 2 full/double beds can be more often found in downtown hotels (in lieu of queens) where space is at a premium. Tiny hotel rooms in NYC are not so different from tiny hotel rooms in an European capital

                4. Azure Jane Lunatic*

                  Twin XL is another important US size: same width as a twin, same length as a king. Shove two of them together and you theoretically have a king (this model is used for half-and-half situations like separately adjustable sides of a shared king). Good for people who are narrow but long.

            2. Violet*

              Sharing a double bed with a coworker would be extra awkward! That would be waaay too small. It at least sounds like it’s a king bed, since those are usually the size of 2 twins.

        2. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Organizer and hotel need to be on the same page for the definition of “double” bed & room.

          To some people it means a room where two people can sleep.
          To some people it means a specific bed size made up to fit 2 people.

          If two one-sleeper beds are latched together as default, I suggest calling ahead to the hotel to ask they be unlatched and made separately. Key is to get it on your reservation notes before the hotel runs out of extra sheets!

          1. Momma Bear*

            I would absolutely get that sorted out. If it’s two mattresses/frames and can be pulled apart, I would ask for that.

            I recently traveled with a dear friend but we did NOT share a room. We have different sleeping needs. If I had a reason to not share other than just wanting privacy from my coworker, I’d offer to pay part of the cost for my own room.

            1. Michelle Smith*

              Honestly, I don’t think that’s fair to you/LW to have to pay any cost. It is a business expense and the business should pay if they want LW to go. I’m not paying extra to have my own room on a trip just because I have medical conditions; that’s unfair to me (just like it would be unfair to stick someone in a room with me when I’m dealing with my GI issues from eating conference food all day…).

        3. Spicy Tuna*

          I have a friend who traveled to France with her mother. They had a shared room and shared bed set up at an inn / B&B, which she was totally fine with. On the first morning, she went to get coffee to bring back to the room for her mother. Her French is not great. She mentioned to someone that she wanted to bring coffee back to “her woman” and the rest of the trip, everyone thought they were a couple and not mother – daughter!

          1. anon2*

            That has nothing to do with the beds though, if she literally called her “my wife” by accident I’m not sure what else they could believe! (Woman and wife are the same word in French.)

        4. Ally McBeal*

          I don’t think this is terribly common in U.S. hotels, but my parents did this for the entirety of their 30+ year marriage and it was a great solution for them. My mom’s an extremely light sleeper and my dad snored like a freight train, so separate mattresses helped with the tossing/turning, and they had a twin-sized foam egg-crate mattress topper that they erected between the mattresses to help a little with the snoring (complemented by a very loud white-noise machine).

    3. Miss Chanandler Bong*

      I don’t share a bed with anyone. I’m not in a relationship. No one besides my cats wants to share a bed with me. I don’t sleep still. I’d likely cause someone injury during sleep by whacking them in the face. My family members/friends know that if we travel together, I absolutely must have my own bed. Coworkers would be an absolute no. I’d honestly be willing to quit over something like this. Maybe OP doesn’t feel the same way/can’t afford to quit, but that’s how seriously I’d take it.

      1. Jojo7787*

        Hello from a fellow active sleeper!

        I sometimes wake up in a different orientation from how I went to sleep. I would not want to subject my sleeping self to a coworker.

      2. NobodyHasTimeForThis*

        I am in a relationship and I STILL don’t share a bed with anyone. I have terrible insomnia and I change positions like I am the Tazmainian devil. Bed sharing is 8 hours of me staring into space afraid to move.

        I am in one of the industries where room sharing is the norm and I have so far managed to dodge travel. I don’t like work travel and do not see conferences as the perk that other people do so I have been able to pass it off each time and intend to continue to dodge for the remaining time.

        1. Michelle Smith*

          Would you be willing to share the industry? I’ve only heard about academia so far. Would be good to know what else to avoid.

          1. Velociraptor Attack*

            I encountered it when I was in non-profits but that’s going to vary based on the organization, that said I’ve encountered it in very small organizations and very large organizations. I once went to a conference where roommates were randomly assigned and I had an opposite-sex roommate.

            I actually didn’t encounter it in academia, my boss at the time was a huge proponent of the idea that staff shouldn’t have to share rooms.

      3. AngryOctopus*

        I am both an active sleeper, and someone who cannot fall asleep when stressful things happen. So in this situation I’d be 1-mostly unable to fall asleep because I’d be so stressed about having basically a stranger in the bed with me and 2-if I did actually fall asleep I might kick them right out by accident.
        I can share a bed with my mom if we’re travelling, that’s fine. Coworker? Absolutely not.

      4. Spicy Tuna*

        My husband sleepwalks, especially if he is in a new place. He locked himself entirely outside of a lodge in Yellowstone. He wandered into a hotel hallway in Tokyo and peed in his cousin’s shoes. He went down the hallway at his uncle’s house and crawled into bed in between his parents. I can only imagine what kind of lawsuit would result if an employer made him share a room, much less a bed, with a co-worker!

        1. Chubby Gal Slim*

          OMG, this is a riot! My brother once drove to work in his sleep, reporting to the AM shift when he wasn’t scheduled until 8 hours later. He’d also regularly open our locked front door and cross the street, and once tried to escape through a second-story window. A few of these escapades would set these employers straight!

        2. goddessoftransitory*

          I had a high school friend that lived in Hawaii before I knew him–apparently he once sleepwalked eight miles and woke up in sugar cane field!

        3. RabbitRabbit*

          The comedian/actor/director/etc. Mike Birbiglia has fought extreme sleepwalking (and other sleep disturbance) problems to the point where he once leapt from a second-story hotel window trying to escape some imagined threat. Fortunately he only sustained relatively minor injuries but he actively worked on treatment at that point; I believe he takes medication and essentially sleeps in a ‘mummy’ sleeping bag. He had an episode on This American Life where he told the story, and did a comedy special called “Sleepwalk With Me” about his struggles.

      5. RVA Cat*

        I am also an active sleeper. My husband has trouble with me “stealing covers” and we share a California King.

    4. Vveat*

      Back in the days when I started working (say, 30 years ago) and in my (emerging market) native country, you were supposed on a trip to pay for a bed, not a room (or rather, not pay the supplement for having a room to yourself). And the hotels were putting strangers to share rooms. I know how strange it sounds, but I had indeed done that, there was one memorably awkward occasion when we both needed the bathroom.
      In my first job for a foreign company I had assumed I’ll share with a co-worker on a business trip abroad and I was pathetically grateful when I heard the unbelievable news that each gets their own room.
      And no, nowadays I wouldn’t share a room, but so many things we take for granted. I would definitely speak up if I were the OP

    5. Maglev to Crazytown*

      My spouse and I hold the same position at the same employer, and have to travel together once or twice a year. We were told that even as spouses, we were not required to share a hotel room, and as employees we each had a right to our own room. But we were allowed to share, if we wanted.

      Sharing a bed with a randomly assigned coworker is just downright bizarre, and not at all normal.

      1. Chairman of the Bored*

        I know a married couple who are both employed by the government and occasionally travel to the same conferences, etc.

        When they travel together they are *required* to each have their own room, there is no option for them to save their employer money by only booking one.

        They typically get adjoining rooms, and use one as the bedroom and the other as the “office”.

        1. Maglev to Crazytown*

          There is agency discretion here. I know several married feds within the same agency, and it differs by agency. An agency can allow you to share one, but both are always entitled to their own room without question if they want it.

        2. FlowerPower*

          My husband and I worked at the same company until recently. During company travel, the default assumption was that they would get us our own rooms and if we wanted to share, we could ask. We always did prefer sharing but there was no expectation that we would.

      2. Ann O'Nemity*

        I love that your company doesn’t assume that married couples want to share, and that the default is separate. This way, married couples don’t have to out the snorer, the CPAP user, the night terrors, or whatever other personal reason the married couples have for sleeping separately.

    6. ThatGirl*

      I shared a queen bed with one of my best friends for three nights recently. She is one of the only people besides my husband I would ever share a bed with. And it went fine, but we left the third friend on the trip to her own bed to flail around :)

    7. Ann O'Nemity*

      I refuse to share a room with a coworker because of a bad experience I had during study abroad when I had to share a *bed* with another student for several days. Unfortunately, it was a summer heat wave in Europe, so no AC. We sweated through the sheets every night. So gross. Never again. Not sharing a bed. Not sharing a room. Nope nope nope.

      1. Ann O'Nemity*

        I should add – the reason we got stuck sharing a bed is because the hotel ran out of doubles rooms, despite the study abroad program booking the rooms months in advance. We were all eventually able to move into doubles rooms as other guests checked out. But the few days of sharing a bed was pure hell and I don’t ever want to get stuck in that situation again.

    8. Lea*

      I would have done this when I was 23 maybe?

      But middle aged me would book my own room with my own money before I did

      1. Just Another Cog*

        I tried to do just that one time. A coworker and I were attending a three day seminar with two hotel nights. Even though our company had a centralized trip scheduling dept., our manager made our arrangements for us herself. I’m sure it was to save money because the expense came out of her budget. Anyway, my coworker and I discovered on check in that we were booked into the same room. At least we had separate beds. This lady is the nicest person on earth, but snored like a freight train. Nothing I tried – earplugs, noise cancelling headphones, pillow over her face (just kidding) – worked. The morning after the first night, I discreetly inquired at the front desk about buying a room for myself, but they were booked. Everyone from our company and other companies had separate rooms. I spent one more miserable night with the awful snoring, but did contemplate curling up on the bench outside the elevators a few times so I could get an hour or two of shuteye. I didn’t have the heart to say anything to my coworker because I was afraid to embarrass her, but I was a wreck when I got home. I figured I’d say something to the boss about not doing that when the next trip came up, but then Covid came along and put the kibosh on business travel.

    9. Student*

      I once shared a bed with a co-worker because I was not informed ahead of time about how room arrangements had been made and was stuck on an island with limited means to escape to an affordable hotel.

      My group was sent to a conference. One man (our boss) and five women. The boss handled travel arrangements. He booked himself one room, and one room for all FIVE women. He didn’t tell us until we were checking into the hotel!

      The room was meant for 1-2 people at most. There was one bed. The hotel would only give us one additional cot for the room (probably for the best due to fire safety egress reasons). One person got the cot. One person slept in an arm chair (not a recliner, either). One person slept in a pile of blankets on the floor. Two of us slept in the bed together. We bickered for a while about who would be sleeping where, and it ended up being me and my good work friend C sharing the bed, as we were relatively comfortable with each other and it was clear both of us were going to do our best to pretend this room-sharing atrocity wasn’t actually happening.

      The only reason we shared a bed instead of having two people sleep on the floor was because that wouldn’t leave enough floor space for everyone to reach the bathroom in a timely fashion.

      All of this was at a conference on an island that is only reachable by ferry. The other hotels on the island are very expensive, highly occupied due to the conference and to normal tourist traffic, and just weren’t going to be an option for me at the time to bail to. Getting to the mainland and back was an additional expense, and the ferry times would mean I’d probably miss parts of the conference. I was young and also worried about making too many waves.

      Definitely destroyed my opinion of that boss. Now that I’m older, I’d give the boss a piece of my mind, and either leave altogether or go stay on the mainland and make Boss shoulder as much of the inconvenience as I possibly could, while pointedly grousing about his awful hotel cost-savings plan to any professional contacts he had at the conference.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        How this guy didn’t wake up with a hornet nest in his own bed is a testament to your ability to remain calm.

    10. LCH*

      i really don’t even want to share a room with a coworker. i have a conference trip coming up where i will be sharing an AirBNB with a coworker, but we will have separate sleeping areas (thank god, i snore). i’m still a little nervous about the shared bathroom, BUT because our workplace is having budget issues, my very senior coworker is paying for the lodgings so that i don’t have to skip the conference. so beggars and choosers.

      but preferably not sharing a room and very much never in a million years sharing a bed. big WTF.

    11. Ace in the Hole*


      I’m not a picky sleeper. I’ve had jobs where sleeping outdoors on the ground in shared tents was sometimes expected. I was fine with that… but I would never even consider sharing a BED with a coworker.

    12. goddessoftransitory*

      Barring a disaster or real emergency, the only people I would share a bed with is my husband, my sister, and my mother.

      If you can’t afford rooms for your people, you can’t afford to send that many people.

    13. Steve*

      My response to this information would have so many expletives we would need to have a 2nd meeting with HR concerning my language. I would also be getting my own room at the LaQuinta next door and putting it on the business card.

    1. Venus*

      This line seems to have been missed elsewhere in the comments and I find it really problematic because clearly this isn’t only about cost:
      “In the future I hope that they can compromise on the 4 star hotel and find something within budget where I’m not sleeping directly next to a colleague.”

      1. Sparkles McFadden*

        Yes, this is a vital fact. I assume that the upper echelon chose this venue based on what they want for their own suites and meeting rooms, and then the peons could be shoved somewhere together like cattle to make the budget work. But, I’m a cynic.

        1. Venus*

          My experience with conferences is that they find a hotel that can accommodate the size of conference rooms, and then the large room rental rates are typically based on also getting a minimum number of hotel rooms. So if they want to have a fancy event in a fancy ballroom then they probably promised to book all their staff there too. One potential option would be to tell 15 people that they could stay at a nearby cheaper hotel, which wouldn’t be as nice but if the alternative was to share a room then that would suddenly seem pretty good.

          1. UKDancer*

            Yes, most conferences organise the booking based on the number of meeting / breakout rooms and the number of bedrooms is often less important. I go to one conference each year which is hosted at a big upmarket hotel in a large city. The hotel is chosen for its meeting rooms and some people stay there but the hotel can’t accommodate everyone. Others stay at the Premier Inn opposite which is cheaper but doesn’t have the meeting room space. Some people stay at the other upmarket chain hotel 2 streets over (and I know one person who prefers that one because he has status with them).

        2. Artemesia*

          As a speaker I once ended up walking into my single room to find no bed. It was a ‘parlor’ room which meant whoever had it had to sleep on the fold out couch. I was on the phone immediately requesting a move to a room with a bed and luckily got it.

          I don’t sleep on fold out couches; sleep with a co-worker? NO although I was in a profession where room sharing to save money was the norm — didn’t much like it, but did it back in the day — would still never share a bed.

            1. New Jack Karyn*

              I didn’t either, but I can imagine how it might be useful. Someone’s doing a series of interviews or having an all-day small meeting–and they don’t have a regular office space.

              Even something like a table-top gaming group who want to stay up late, and not bother kids, partners, or roommates.

        3. fhqwhgads*

          It’s the probably the conference hotel itself, and not something the bookers chose independently.

      2. LJ*

        But neither should they be booking business travel at the local Motel 6… A 4-star conference hotel is usually nothing super-fancy, it’s usually just a major chain with full conference services and a restaurant/room service/maybe spa.

  2. Dr. Rebecca*

    Gosh, it would be lovely if businesses treated their employees like adults, instead of kids at summer camp.

      1. The dark months*

        This is an excellent point. I work in one of those industries where it is common and expected that you will share rooms. And tents – big canvass tents but still, zero privacy- very much like summer camp. And I have never ever heard of someone being expected to share a bed.

        1. Hannah Lee*

          ^ This is a really great perspective to bring in.

          Even in the industries where a single room is unheard of and sleeping in tents is normal … people get their own beds.

          I’m hoping there was some bizarre misunderstanding somewhere along the line and that actual company employees in charge of travel decisions did not purposefully mean for other employees to share a bed.

      2. Ally McBeal*

        Yeah all the camps I went to had bunk beds. I always brought an extra sheet so I could tuck it into the mattress frame of the top bunk and create some privacy on the bottom bunk.

    1. Dee Smith*

      I would not hesitate to say N.O. to sharing a room. If this was the arrangement then the employer should have disclosed it prior to making these plans. And rather than sending employees to another city they should be using Zoom or some other service if they’re trying to save money. Absolutely unacceptable!

      1. AngryOctopus*

        At this point in my life, were I told I had to share a room and there was no way around it I’d either be asking about remoting in or booking my own room. I might quit if they told me I had to share a bed.
        The only time people ever had to share rooms at my old company when we had our summer outing was the year that they booked rooms for everyone, we hired 3 more people, and then when they tried to book 3 more rooms were told that the resort was sold out. They asked if anyone would be willing to share for a night because of that reason, and if not they’d figure out an alternative. We actually had to stop going to that resort because it was too popular and stopped having enough rooms for everyone who wanted to go.

  3. soontoberetired*

    Our own HR department put an end to room sharing in the 90s when someone complained. Our HR was appalled ! I don’t know why this is acceptable and expected in any industry. I do not sleep well in rooms with other people, bed sharing or not. bring it up letter writer, you are probably not alone in finding this awkward.

    1. Snarkus Aurelius*

      Also if you cannot afford to pay for separate rooms for employees, then you cannot afford to send them. Period.

      (And if you can afford it and you’re being cheap, you suck.)

      1. Full Banana Ensemble*

        Yes!!! My last job was a nonprofit (one of the industries notorious for this kind of cost-cutting) and we never, ever shared rooms, let alone BEDS.

        When our revenue was down and we couldn’t afford the big all-staff events we used to do, we cut down on the number of trips, not the number of rooms.

    2. Ann O'Nemity*

      See, this is the right HR response.

      Can you imagine the risks if something happened in the bed? Even something unintentional, like an employee flailing in their sleep and hitting their coworker, or unconsciously thinking the person next to them is their partner.

      1. Venus*

        A former coworker had a good laugh about this on a camping trip with a good friend. They are both women, and the coworker reminded her friend ahead of time that she really doesn’t like being touched, and they would have to arrange the sleeping bags so that they wouldn’t touch overnight. And yet this coworker woke up the next morning to find that she’d managed to rearrange herself and had wrapped her arms and legs around her friend, so clearly her sleeping brain felt differently from her awake brain.

        I’d be less worried about sharing a room, but I wouldn’t sleep a minute if I had to share the same bed because I tend to flail.

      2. Shandra*

        An acquaintance spent several consecutive weeks on business in another city, staying in a hotel during the week and coming home on weekends.

        One night he woke up to someone sleeping next to him. He leaped out of bed, landed on his feet and assumed a fighting stance with both fists raised.

        He was at home for the weekend, and his bed companion was his wife.

        1. RVA Cat*

          Visions of George “Hot Beard” Russell leaping out of bed after his wife’s maid Turner sneaked in. (And not *just* because Morgan Spector is a beautiful man.)

    3. Sara without an H*

      Kudos to your HR department. I recently retired from a job in higher education, where it is, indeed, expected that coworkers will share rooms while traveling. But beds — no. Never. Jamais. Niemals!

      If the Letter Writer is stuck with the arrangements (and I sincerely hope they will push back), I recommend contacting the hotel in advance of arrival and arranging for a foldaway bed. It won’t be real comfortable, but if the couch is inadequate, it might be a better deal.

        1. Sara without an H*

          I know the type of bed you mean. Yes, that could work, although they’d still probably be closer together than either would prefer.

    4. Emily Byrd Starr*

      I’ve had to share rooms on work trips, but:

      1. I worked for a nonprofit
      2. We each had our own bed
      3. We chose our roommate
      4. Attendance at the conference was not mandatory ( though it was highly encouraged )

  4. Blue*

    I partially disagree with the second to last paragraph. I actually think the gender aspect is a contributing argument, because the room sharing assumptions made are inherently hetero- and cis-normative which is harmful to many people (including some who may not be and may not want to be out). So the existence of gender diversity is another reason why room sharing is problematic.

    1. ecnaseener*

      But would it be *better* to randomly assign rooms with no regard for gender? The problem here is having assigned roommates, not that gender was taken into account. Let people choose their roommates at least (though that has its own issues).

        1. fidget spinner*

          Yeah, I’m sorry, maybe it’s super un-progressive of me, but gender matters here. I would absolutely hate times 1000 having to share a bed with a female coworker as a woman… but I would be 10,000 times more awkward with having to share a bed with a male coworker.

          I know, it’s super regressive of me, but it’s the truth.

          1. goddessoftransitory*

            Yeah, that would be the “nope, I quit RIGHT NOW and am leaving” moment for me. It would be bad enough sharing with another woman, but asking me to sleep in the same bed as a male coworker????

    2. Happy meal with extra happy*

      The answer does address this – it is another big issue, but there is the (super unfortunately) risk that, depending on those in charge, including this issue could derail the conversation. That’s not good, but in the world we live in, it’s a concern. There are enough other issues that this could be addressed without focusing on the heteronormative gender concerns.

      1. Blue*

        This is fair, and maybe comes down to knowing your management. If you think their takeaway is likely to be not “wow, good point, another reason to stop making people share rooms” but rather “well people definitely have to share but now we are going to make people disclose a bunch of information about their gender and sexuality to factor into the sorting” then…don’t mention it. But I don’t think the latter would be the takeaway for most people…is that naive?

        1. Katie Impact*

          Unfortunately, the population of interest here is not “most people”, but “most people who would think that making coworkers who would share a bed is a good idea”. You can’t assume reasonableness from people who would do that in the first place.

    3. Ashley*

      Part of why bringing up gender in these discussions is often avoided is because it derails into discussions about is it ok for hetero folks to share together, but then gasp what do you do if someone is bi? Or can two lesbians share a room? Or the number of bigoted folks refusing to share a room with someone who is not straight. And then factor in the number of employees who are closeted and may be forced to our themselves.
      It isn’t that gender diversity isn’t problematic, but it derails the conversation in a way that can miss the bigger picture of this isn’t ok because people will start getting hung up on those details.

      1. Antilles*

        Exactly. Bringing up the gender makes it likely the company will fixate on that and trying to evaluate and set rules for “who can share beds/rooms” rather than the correct outcome of “we shouldn’t be asking employees to share beds/rooms, full stop”.

        1. Warrior Princess Xena*

          +1. Gender is going to be a red herring. I don’t want to co-room with a coworker if it can be avoided, and if it’s truly unavoidable then the absolute bare scrape-the-bottom-of-the-barrel minimum needs to be that the room has two separate full beds with none of this roll-out nonsense.

          1. Quill*

            If you fix the “people have to room together at random” issue then it fixes the issues people have with room sharing based on gender.

          2. ThatOtherClare*

            You’re so right. Sex and gender are absolutely red herrings here.

            Any human can sexually assault any other human regardless of gender, plumbing, or chromosomes. It’s completely reasonable to be uncomfortable with sharing a bed with any random human with any configuration of the above.

      2. MEH Squared*

        This is not gender–it’s sexual identity. Gender is nonbinary, male, female, agender, trans, etc. Which can be relevant to the rooming question–if people can’t get out of rooming together.

        1. Julia K.*

          Gender and sex aren’t quite the same thing. Gender is nonbinary, man, woman, etc. Sex is male or female.

          A roommate policy could sort folks by gender, or by sex; though it’s occasionally impolite to ask people’s sex or gender, especially since some people are genderfluid or going through an exploratory time. Or a roommate policy could not sort folks at all. Each of those options has its pros and cons.

    4. Person from the Resume*

      I object to sharing a bed with any coworker regardless of gender. So doing the sorting differently does not change my objection to sharing a bed with any coworker.

      1. Portia*

        Yes. I would not share a bed — or even a room — with a co-worker, regardless of my gender or theirs. It is not an appropriate thing for employers to demand. Adults share sleeping space with intimates of their own choice, not Joe from IT or Becky from two cubicles over.

        As I believe Alison has said before, if an organization can’t afford to make appropriate hotel arrangements for employees, it can’t afford to send people on business travel.

        1. Sophie*

          “Adults share sleeping space with intimates of their own choice, not Joe from IT or Becky from two cubicles over.”
          Amen & lol!!!

    5. Dee Smith*

      But that is a non issue. It is very unprofessional to expect coworkers to share an overnight personal space!

    6. pickleball4*

      The gender issue is that basically 100% of women do not want to share a hotel room with a man, even a man they know, even with 2 beds, unless that man is their son or partner, for obvious reasons. And even they might not want to. Plenty of men, on the other hand, would have no problem at all sharing a hotel room with a woman they barely know. For obvious reasons.

      1. Doc in a Box*

        Your “obvious reasons” comment plays into a lot of nasty stereotypes about men as sex maniacs and women as chaste prudes. Please stop.

        1. amari*

          Well no, it isn’t sexist to state that women are more concerned about sexual violence from men than the reverse. That’s just… A fact of life for many women, and although obviously not true in every situation or a given, it is something women must consider as a given. Please don’t “not all men” this extremely important point.

          1. Venus*

            Agreed. It’s ‘not all men’, rather it only needs to be one and not even at this event. In other words I don’t know any men who are sex maniacs nor any women who are chaste prudes, but based on my experiences over the years and basic statistics I’d feel much less comfortable sharing a room with a man.

            That said, I agree with Alison and don’t think OP should mention it.

          2. UKDancer*

            Yes. I am reasonably sure that most of my male colleagues are nice, pleasant people who are safe to share a room with but I still wouldn’t want to share a room with them because I don’t 100% know that. People can be one way at work and a completely different way out of it. Also it’s too intimate and I’m smaller and weaker than most of the men I know.

            I would further have serious levels of discomfort getting undressed / using the shower facilities etc with men present. It’s not a chastity thing, I just don’t want them seeing me in that level of vulnerability.

        2. Not on board*

          The problem isn’t that all men are sex maniacs – the problem is women can never know which of the men they work with would behave themselves in this situation. It’s like the bowl of candy with some of them being poisoned. You’re not going to eat any of it if you know 2% of the bowl is poisoned. I simply wouldn’t be comfortable sharing a room with any man that wasn’t my partner/familly member.

          1. KHB*

            It’s not even about a specific fear of sexual violence – it’s also about cultural norms surrounding sex, gender, and privacy in situations where people are vulnerable and/or partially disrobed. You can argue that those norms should be challenged – but for right now, they exist, and having your thinking shaped by them doesn’t make you a “chaste prude.”

            I (female) have several male coworkers and acquaintances who I’m quite confident are not poisoned candies (or at least that they have no poisonous plans toward me). I’d have zero reservations getting into a car with them, for example, or walking with them alone at night. Nevertheless, I’d be extremely uncomfortable sharing a hotel room with any of them.

            1. Justin D*

              Right, because even without the safety issue people still have privacy issues with the opposite sex or gender that they maybe don’t have with their own. I’m a guy and I would feel more weird about sharing a room with a woman/female coworker than a man/male coworker.

        3. Lea*

          I have had a lot of married male coworkers who I know 100% would not share a room with a woman not their wife.

          Of course then you start getting into who is single/married and partnered and how THAT factors in and when it gets down to it you get to the same place which is you don’t want to force coworkers to stay together.

          But I think mixed gender groups would be far less accepted

          1. Ew*

            As a male I would never want to share a room with a non-related female, and that was also true before I was married.

            1. what even*

              I think the point of the original comment is that men who don’t want to share a room with a woman object because it is uncomfortable. Whereas, a woman not wanting to share a room with a man objects for the uncomfortable situation and the fact that, if push comes to shove, she is at a very real, very serious disadvantage to being able to maintain her own safety.

              1. Azure Jane Lunatic*

                Yes, sometimes the question is not “how likely is this particular person to assault me”, it is “if, gods forbid, this person should decide to assault me, exactly how endangered am I?” So adding 8+ unaccompanied hours together in a locked and unmonitored space where you’re expected to be explicitly off your guard and able to bathe and sleep … that’s a lot of vulnerability to add to the risk calculation.

          2. Laura*

            I know unmarried men who would also not be comfortable sharing a room with a woman coworker, possibly unless they know the person pretty well.

        4. Ew*

          There is a big gap between “not all men” and “plenty of men[…] for obvious reasons.” The latter is inarguably sexist and insulting. It seems to me it would actually be less insulting to state “a disturbing number of men” (even 1% is disturbing).

          1. what even*

            I find it disturbing that we quibble over word choice when not a single one of us in confused as to why a woman would not want to room with a strange man.

        5. Warrior Princess Xena*

          Yeah, it was poorly phrased, but there’s a couple of other widespread reasons for women to be unhappier in general about cross-gender sharing.
          1. The average woman faces a lot more threat from the average man than vice versa in terms of violence statistics.
          2. If there is a scandal, women tend to come out of the situation with far more social stigma than men.

          1. Quill*

            3. Men are more likely to have never had to think about either of the top 2, making it more likely that they’ll resign themselves to going along with the room sharing plan even if they’re not comfortable.

        6. Student*

          The reason the men don’t care is because they are not afraid of the random woman they are assigned as a room mate.

          This does not require the man to be a sex-crazed rapist. This is basic biological averages, social conditioning, and physics.

          For a mix of social and biological reasons, men tend to be much stronger and much larger than women, on average. The odds are very good that a random man assigned to room with a random woman will find that the man has a significant weight, height, and fitness advantage over the woman. There are exceptions, of course!

          It’s just a physics fact of fights that the person who has a weight advantage has a tremendous overall advantage if any type of fighting occurs at all. It’s momentum and other basic kinematics. Couple that with any height, reach, and general fitness advantage the man might have, and you get a lot of advantage in any physical altercation. Then factor in the societal norms that mean men are more likely (again, on average) to have some basic fighting/physical skills than women.

          The random, arbitrary man has a lot of physical advantage over the random, arbitrary woman. The woman doesn’t want to enter into a situation where she is vulnerable to a man with immense advantage over her, even without factoring his motivation into it at all. Similarly, the man can be pretty confident that he has nothing major to fear from his random woman room mate, even if she turns out to be violent – if she does pick a fight, then he will probably come out of it without any major injury.

          I’m a short 5-foot woman. That’s short! Some grade schoolers and most middle schoolers are larger than me. I have sometimes had to explain to guys that, with weight and height differences, the world I live in is very different than theirs. If an average guy lived in a world where half the people around him were professional football players and the other half were still mostly several inches taller than they were, that is the world I live in. The average guy can injure me on accident due to our weight and height differences – I’m just so much smaller than them that any physical contact is much more likely to injure me than a “normal” size person.

          It sucks! But it is real, it is based mainly on physics, and it has nothing to do with assuming all guys are horrible monsters. Just assuming that they are, on average, usually larger.

          1. Laura*

            It’s not based mainly on physics. It’s also based on large amount of gender-based violence perpetrated by men on women. And it’s not a majority of men who do this, either, a lot of men are repeat offenders.

      2. AdminAssistanceGirl*

        I don’t know about 100% of women, but definitely speaking for myself, I agree that I would be incredibly uncomf0rtable sharing a room with a man. Sharing a bed would be a complete no-go, regardless of gender. I think not having to share a room with a co-worker on a work trip should be a minimum requirement, but if it has to happen, I think the set up needs to be, everyone gets their own bed and people are paired up in the way that makes them the most comfortable as is possible given the circumstances, which includes not having them share rooms with someone of the opposite sex if that’s something they’re uncomfortable with.

        1. Dog momma*

          I wouldn’t share a room with anyone male except husband. That includes my brother and father. No. I have shared with friends on a w/ e trip, but we were pretty young, so less of a problem.
          Co workers or strangers. No way. I’d quit first.

      3. Waffles*

        As a woman I would 100% not want to share a room with a man, even if I am fully confident that my room mate would have no danger of violence or creepy behaviour because I am in a small industry and people TALK. Gossip about my bedroom behaviour would be a career killer.

    7. Hendry*

      I used to work for a small startup where we shared rooms while traveling. I didn’t mind, but the best was when you realized you were the only person of your gender on the trip – automatic single

    8. Kel*

      I said this in a separate comment below, but. Would love to know the solution to who I share a room with as a non-binary person.

      1. Potoooooooo*

        HR: But are you a boy nonbinary or a girl nonbinary?

        Well, if they don’t assign rooms based on birth assignments.

        I’m not sure which is worse.

      2. Annie*

        Just another reason why they shouldn’t be sharing rooms, regardless of any gender issues (first, that they could assume gender, or that a person simply because they are the same gender, would be comfortable in a room with someone of the same gender).
        Also, the idea that there’s anything wrong with a hetero male/female/other being comfortable with someone who is bisexual/queer. Everyone has their preferences and are allowed to be comfortable with who they are sleeping in a room with.

      3. Gatomon*

        All the other nonbinary people, of course! :)

        Seriously this is crazy to have people share rooms – I guess this is a thing in some industries, but I feel like if the company can’t afford to pay for separate hotel rooms, they can’t afford to send all these people on the trip. I ended up with vicious food poisoning on an overnight business trip once, and I don’t know how I would’ve maintained any dignity if I’d been sharing a room. (At one point I’d put all my clothes on and turned the heat up to 85 and was still shivering under the covers between bouts – that’s how intense this was, without being too graphic.)

    9. MEH Squared*

      I agree. The answer is good if the LW can get their company to change their practice, but if people have to room together, then gender identity matters. A lot. And it’s harder for people who are not gender normative (of which I am one) to deal with this kind of situation for a variety of reasons. The fact that the LW brought it up means they are cognizant of the issue. At some point when they are more established, maybe they would be willing to expend the capital on this issue.

      It’s the same with many issues for people in the minority. Yes, people in the majority may not like it, either, but it’s extra difficult for people in the minority–which is the whole point of DEI initiatives.

  5. Confused of UK*

    As someone who’s UK based and never heard of anyone being asked to share a room otger than in letter to AAM; is this really that common? Do people get in trouble for pushing back?

    1. Sunflower*

      Not in my experience. Maaaaybe sharing a room with one bed per person, but not sleeping in the *same* bed!

    2. Czhorat*

      I’ve not travelled for work that many time,s but when I have everyone has gotten a separate room.

      I think in most industries in the US room-sharing would be profoundly weird. The cost of the room is rarely the biggest cost in sending someone on a trip.

    3. Porch Gal*

      I traveled to a weeklong training with my boss when I worked for a small nonprofit, and we shared a room (both cis, married females). It wasn’t my first choice but the only way to get my own room would have been to pay for it myself. It just wasn’t in our budget.

      1. Porch Gal*

        Oops – meant to add the room had 2 beds. They made it very clear when we reserved it that we needed TWO beds.

      2. Hannah Lee*

        Years ago I worked in a sales support function where some of the non-front line sales people were included in the annual sales meeting at Disney World. Many of us wound up sharing rooms with a total stranger. But they all were rooms with 2 separate beds. – cis unmarried-at-the-time female, no idea about the other woman.

        It kind of made sense to me before the trip, but when it dawned on me that every single salesman, sales manager (95% men), manager (99% men) got their own room, some got whole suites AND the company actually rented Disney World out for just this event … for multiple nights … I realized they were just cheaping out on accommodations for the support staff and got very annoyed.

    4. Chas*

      I’m in UK academia and in my experience it’s always depending on my manager at the time. During my PhD my supervisor was fine with me getting a cheap room by myself for a conference, even though the other 3 PhD students (same gender as me) in our group decided to share a 4-bed room (which I could have shared, but I’d already booked my own room when they did that, thankfully. They thought it was weird that I’d organised it for myself by myself.)
      My first post-doc boss made me share a room with a PhD student (same gender as me again) the first time we went to the same conference, but never did after that (though I think that was more because it didn’t work out to be cost-effective as we couldn’t get twin rooms as an option, not because he’d decided not to make us share).
      I’ve also shared a suite (1 bathroom, 2 bedrooms) with a coworker one time, which worked out great because it was cheaper than 2 rooms for 1 person each would have been, but we didn’t have to share a room.

    5. Elsewise*

      Based in the US, in the nonprofit field, I’ve never heard of this outside of AAM either. Most places I’ve worked have been of the opinion that the number of rooms you could afford to book was the number of people you could afford to send. (One place I worked would absolutely have tried to pull something like that, but never sent us to conferences, just on camping trips with donors, which tied with our mission. We were required to provide our own tents, though.)

    6. ee*

      It’s very common in academia – as a grad student, there was a yearly conference that most people in our lab went to, and the expectation is absolutely that grad students and postdocs are all sharing rooms. The conference organizers actually have an online system to match you up with a stranger (in a room with 2 beds). One year, my coworkers and I (grad students, postdocs, and a recent college grad research assistant) decided we would prefer to have a kitchen, so we got our boss to book us 2 short term rental apartments and almost all of us were sharing beds with someone (although we did all get to choose who we were sharing with and it was a group with no personality conflicts). Nobody thought this was unusual, the culture was more that everybody saw this as something almost like a group trip with friends.

      There is a very strong expectation in academia that your coworkers should also be your friends and a major part of your social life (strongest for grad students, but still there for postdocs), and that doing scientific research as a grad student or postdoc is not a “real job”, despite it being full time (or more) hours and your primary source of income.

      1. Etcetera*

        Ugh. I’m a grad student, my department has an absolutely shit gender ratio, and some years the total number of women is odd. It is not an even number (usually 5 or 7), not everyone can have roommates, that is simply not how math works. My PI expected me to find a woman at another institution to share a room with to make it work. Let me dial up the secret female network .

        (Don’t you have any friends from undergrad?) (Well, most of them are llama breeders and this is specifically for llama groomers.) (What about the rest of them?) (Most of my friends from undergrad are not going to graduate school.)

        My lab was all male, and I have literally never seen the other grad student in my lab talk to a women voluntarily (conservative international student). And my PI took about 3 years to decide that I wasn’t going to file a false title IX complaint for being in the same room, so the idea of sharing as a lab was a total non-starter.

        I ended up not going because it was 2022, I didn’t really want to go, and everyone who did go in person caught covid that year, but I’d be lying if I said that expectation wasn’t a contributing factor to that decision. Which just feels super crappy.

    7. J!*

      I’ve experienced this in a veeeeery small non-profit with just a couple of employees and a budget of like 250k per year, but other than that situation it hasn’t been an issue for me, even in non-profit spaces.

      We’re asked to remember that the money we spend comes from our members and to use it responsibly, but not to the extent that we have to share a room while traveling.

      1. J!*

        (Oh, gosh, and even in that circumstance we were sharing a room and not a bed! I didn’t even do that in grad school when we were all strapped for cash and rooming together at conferences on purpose to save our own money.)

    8. Cyborg Llama Horde*

      Situations where I’ve encountered coworkers sharing rooms:

      – When I was an volunteer on a program for young people doing international service work, I shared a room with multiple beds with my female peer during the periodic all-program get togethers. (But the program was VERY clear that when we stayed with host families we needed our own room.)

      – When I was a teacher at an alternative school, and one of the chaperones on the spring break trip, I shared a room/bed with one of the other young women teachers. I don’t remember how that came about, but if someone had had a problem with it I think we could’ve worked something out.

      – At a company retreat at a for-profit company largely staffed by 20-somethings, we shared “cabins” with two single beds and one bathroom. We could pick our roommates. I pushed back on the idea that everyone would be comfortable sharing, and they opened up an option for single rooms, which a few people did take them up on. I did not get in any trouble, but I did feel like the handling of my concern conflated “feel happy/comfortable” with “feel physically safe.”

    9. Gem-Like Flame*

      As Alison has pointed out in the past, it’s not unusual for nonprofits and academia; they (A) usually don’t have much money to spend on accommodations for employees and (B) may be concerned about appearing to spend too lavishly on those accommodations.

      The latter point can be an especially sensitive one for nonprofits; they may fear that their public image will take a hit if they’re seen as less than financially austere when it comes to their own people. (The image of the nonprofit employee is a selfless, self-sacrificing, non-materialistic idealist.) And even if image is not the issue, universities/colleges and nonprofits often simply don’t have the funds to pay for separate rooms for employees.

      So yes, it’s done here, but that doesn’t mean that even the most selfless of idealists or scholars really likes to share a room with a stranger – much less a bed! (Full disclosure: I’ve spent my life working for nonprofits and my husband is a university professor, so yes, I’m familiar with both fields.)

      1. Colleges are poor too*

        Agreed. I think a lot of people forget that many private higher education institutions in the US are non-profits. And 99% of them aren’t Harvard. We have shoestring budgets. Especially when talking about travel/conferences for people who are not faculty or head coaches. As a college librarian, I’ve shared rooms (never beds) with colleagues from my own university, friends/colleagues from other colleges, and one time when it was a leadership conference, another random attendee. Most of those were by choice. When attending a conference no one else from my school was attending, by splitting the room with a friend, I saved money that could go to someone else’s professional development they might not have been able to. I’ve done something similar staying at a friend’s house where the conference was meaning my institution only had to pay mileage, food, and conference rather than housing too making it affordable enough for me to actually attend.

      2. Cheshire Cat*

        Libraries are another area where room sharing is common. Many public libraries have to be mindful of taxpayers’ perceptions, and many taxpayers IME don’t understand the value of professional development. So finding ways to lower the cost of conference attendance is essential. In fact, PLA used to (maybe still does?) provide a room-sharing service for attendees to find roommates.

        I do wish that librarians were more valued across the board…

        1. Azure Jane Lunatic*

          My partner is a librarian who reads as a man, and their organization will still only fund half a room. Generally they pay for the other half-room themselves.

    10. Media Monkey*

      i have done it on a work trip (that was mainly a holiday and involved a lot of drinking). and at a company party where they booked out all the rooms in the venue but it meant that a few people needed to travel home by (paid for) taxi late at night. the decision was taken to ask a few people to share so that there was space for everyone to stay.

    11. Dinwar*

      I’ve heard of it in three circumstances.

      First, as stories from the 70s and 80s, and always in the context of “This was a massively poorly run organization.”

      Second, immigrant workers sharing a room to save money. They’d work three shifts, with one person sleeping in the bed, one person working, and one person doing whatever. This was Southern California, so rooms were EXPENSIVE. And this being SoCal, not all the immigration paperwork was fully filled out for all these guys. (To be clear, the workers made these arrangements among themselves, as a way to save money, to send to their families This was not forced upon them.)

      Third, my wife and I shared a room on the one job that we worked on together. We were married, it was two weeks after the honeymoon, and the company pushed back. But we didn’t want to sleep apart. Again, our choice, and rather exceptional circumstances. I think most of us would be fine with spouses sharing a room.

      There is simply no way I would ask someone to share a room, much less a bed. Traveling is stressful enough, and getting a good night’s sleep is critical to being able to function. NO ONE sleeps well with random people in the room–it takes time to adjust to someone else’s routines. Sharing a bed is even worse for that, in addition to being extremely problematic from pretty much every angle HR could investigate it from!

    12. UKDancer*

      Also UK and it’s never been a requirement in any of the companies I’ve worked for. You get your own room automatically unless you choose otherwise. I went on one training programme that was international and it was hosted in a boarding school and we were put in tiny rooms with a shared ensuite, so two rooms with a bathroom between them.

      That’s the closest I’ve ever come in my 20 years working for different companies.

    13. Lea*

      I never do now (us based).

      However when I was young I worked one or two places that had us share a room. I believe we were all still in college student mode and didn’t much care at that time. Also at least one time it was a way to fit people who didn’t strictly speaking need to travel in without breaking the budget so we were happy. My roommate at the time was an older lady maybe she was not.

      But now? Never

    14. new old friend*

      In the US, I almost had to share a room on a business trip– apparently it’s considered the norm at my current company? I was iffy but didn’t push back since I’d just started, but I think one of my coworkers must have because we were all quietly given our own rooms.

      1. new old friend*

        Also just to note– this is not academia or a non-profit or anything else where this would be expected; I think it was just “how things were”

    15. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I’ve also seen room sharing in what I’ll call a “low profit” industry – small magazine ataff attending an industry conference as combination reporters & sales promoters. I did not because I happened to live close enough to the venue to stay in my own bed! (It was the sole benefit of my very long commute.)

    16. Yorick*

      In my experience in academia in the US, the department gives you a limited amount of travel funds for the year. So you can have your own room if it fits in that budget, otherwise you either have to foot the bill for part of the trip or share the room. But you wouldn’t share beds unless you and your travel companion chose to do that to save more money.

    17. melissa*

      No, which is why Alison’s response contains the line—
      “as wild as that seems to people outside these fields.“
      Wild is definitely is for the great majority of us.

    18. Strict Extension*

      I spent a long section of my career in independent bookselling, and it’s very much normal there, if not the norm. Booksellers *love* conferences and no one has any money. My organization had three yearly conferences to attend (one for the region, one for the country, and one focused on children’s materials).

      I attended the children’s conference four times. Two of the four, I was the only one attending from my store and got my own room in the conference hotel. The third time, I was still the only one, but we missed openings at the hotel and they got me an AirBNB staying in the apartment of a pilot who was out working. The fourth time, three were attending, and we each got our own rooms, but it was a conference rate at a chain hotel in Pittsburgh, so I don’t think it was too pricy.

      I attended the regional conference once. There were two of us who drove five hours together to the conference site, and I honestly don’t remember if we shared a room or not.

      I attended the national conference twice. It’s always in New York. Both times the store owner also attended. Once we stayed in short-term apartment rental where the walls were plastered with signs letting everyone know it was not legal to rent the rooms for less than one month (read between the lines: so don’t tell anyone you’re only here three days). It was run by Hari Krishna, so no animal products were allowed in the building. It was advertised as a two-bedroom, but that actually meant they put a bed in the kitchen that had to be walked through to get to the real bedroom. There was a Hells Angels building next door, and so help you if you sat on their bench or looked like you were getting too close to their bikes. The other time I had won a scholarship for the conference fees, but I had to stay in the conference hotel. The owner had found cheaper lodging elsewhere that she was staying at and asked me to room with someone from another store that had the same scholarship so we could split costs. She had met this person, but I hadn’t. I agreed, then the other person asked if I minded if her husband was there too. I agreed again. (If this site has taught me anything, it’s that my personal boundaries are way past the horizon when viewed from most peoples’.) They were nice enough, but we weren’t natural roommates.

      I’m still on industry forums, and it’s very common to see people soliciting for roommates because they can’t find a solo room within the budget they’ve been given. Treating your sleeping arrangements as a multi-night sleepover with the friends you only get to see once a year is very on brand for bookseller conferences, though. They’re basically giant playgrounds for quirky introverts to find their people and party hard.

    19. Banana Pyjamas*

      I work in municipal government, and it’s normal to share rooms. And yes the pull-out is considered a bed, says the person who always took the couch. I’ve been in 4 offices in 2 Midwestern states, and it’s always the same.

    20. elodieunderglass*

      I’m UK based and have experienced room-sharing, it’s quite common in UK academia as others have said – but also related fields. There are a lot of intellectual, passion-led jobs where it’s considered morally imperative to save as much money as possible (and align with the mission).

      For example, environmental charities are extremely conscious of how they use supporters’ funds – in addition to sharing rooms, if you travel on their budget, you’ll be expected to walk everywhere possible, take public transport and even eat cheap vegetarian/vegan food. Some AAM readers will say, “My goodness, what an outrage! What about the needs and autonomy of staff?” but it’s all about the norms.

      However, even in my grubbiest shoestring days, there was never any expectation of sharing a BED. It would normally be the cheapest possible family AirBnB where the highest need (elderly, disabled or pregnant person) would get the first priority for the best bed, and everyone else would camp on the single beds, couches and floor. Again, it’s all about the norms and expectations – but there really isn’t any professional norm about sharing a BED.

    21. New Jack Karyn*

      I work in K-12 education, and have been on a few work trips to conferences. A couple of times, I’ve had to share a hotel room (TWO beds!), but usually gotten a single. That was a while ago, when I was new in the field, and it didn’t occur to me to push back.

  6. Sloanicota*

    I’m sorry OP, this is crappy of the company. Keep in mind, nobody can make you do anything; you do still have agency. I’m not saying you have good choices, but you could choose not to attend (and you don’t need anyone’s permission to be sick on that day), choose not to stay the night even if it makes for a silly drive home, or choose to pay for your own room either somewhere else or in the same hotel. Thinking through your options and making whatever you ultimately decide to do a deliberate choice may make you feel better about whatever happens.

  7. OneAngryAvacado*

    I’m always fascinated to know in which industries it’s ok to suggest sharing a room, let alone a bed. I know some organisations want to save money but if you can’t afford to put two people in two hotel rooms, you can’t afford to send two people on a trip.

    A *bed* though?!?!?! I would lose my shit.

    1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      Non profits. Where any money not spent on the missions is considered waste. So there is always pushes to save money by doing insane things like making people share rooms if not beds.

      At least this one wasn’t expecting people to camp in tents.

      1. Smithy*

        For the nonprofit sector, I do think this is most common in academia and academia adjacent nonprofits. I’ve been in the nonprofit sector my entire life, and even when working for a smaller local organization they didn’t expect sharing rooms. (the flip side is traveling for that org barely happened….)

        That being said, with nonprofit low cost hotels – I do think that it’s often easier to push back against accommodations after an initial bad experience. Some of my low-cost hotel realities have resulted in me being 45 minutes away from a conference site, and in one case booking into a hotel that had regular sex workers in and out all day. In both cases, the circumstances overall were largely taken into consideration for the next time, more so than fixing immediately.

        If the expectation is that these pull-out couches will provide a genuine second bed or if they are two twins pushed together that you can push them apart, that will be helpful insight in reporting back to your supervisor. Saying that the only way to avoid sharing a bed was for one person to sleep in reclining chair or pull-out option smaller than a twin bed, you’re likely to present the situation differently than just about sharing a hotel room.

        1. CL*

          Agreed…spent my 20s working in academia-adjacent nonprofits and room sharing was very common. I have also encountered the 1 bed/1 pull out couch problem. The worst is when that room configuration is not communicated in advance and there is panic when people first get to their rooms.

          1. Boof*

            This sort of thing would have been way more acceptable in my 20s too because, you know, new adult, no specific personal space boundaries, used to scrounging around with friends / people I barely know for personal fun conventions…
            Now tho no way, my sleep is a premium and I don’t want to have to worry about unknown variables (ie another person I don’t know very well) while resting

        2. I'm just here for the cats!*

          I work in academia and, at least at my university, it is not common to share rooms. People might sit in each others rooms to work or chat (jammy party!) but not sleep. Actually we have a good system set up so that there would be a lot of hoops if you did NOT each have your own room. For example, I had to set up travel for a confrence for one of the folx in my department. They had family in the city and so were staying with them. When submitting the paperwork we had to put why the coworker was not staying in the hotel, give an address and peopels names

        3. anyjennywaynest*

          Yeah, for most of my career in academic adjacent non-profit, we camped, as in sleeping on the ground or in the back of a truck, and as we got older, were thrilled to be able to share a hotel room, cabin, trailer, someone’s basement, etc. Pretty much always separate beds, however.

    2. Katrine Fonsmark*

      Academia, a lot of non-profits. Even some “regular” companies! I went to a big training when I was an assistant manager at Borders (RIP) and had to share a room with another trainee (although not a bed).

      1. Jojo*

        Former Walden Books (RIP) manager, we had to share rooms for manager meetings. One year, the woman I was sharing with forgot her PJs and slept in a sarong. That was awkward. Another year, the woman I was sharing with had an abscessed tooth and laid in bed moaning for two days before finally leaving to have it treated. I felt so bad for her, and tried to be out of the room as much as possible.
        I know work at a fortune 500, and not sharing rooms on travel is one of the perks.

    3. Spearmint*

      I’ve only heard of this happening at non-profits and in academia, both of which often operate on limited grant funding. I used to work in state government, where employers are very stingy in many ways (we had to buy our own coffee and tea, for instance), and even there everyone got their own room when traveling.

      1. Sloanicota*

        Yeah, I can only say for the nonprofit sector (and it is something that happens in my current job – not sharing a bed, but sharing a room – accidentally booking a single would be the only way there’d be one bed) – is that they usually view going to conferences and offsite meetings as more of a perk than a necessity, and they’re trying to let as many people enjoy the career development as they can – and if you don’t want to share a room they’re probably fine with you choosing not to go. As others have said, there’s usually limited grant funding setting the tight budgets.

    4. Quacken*

      Welcome to academia, where unless you’re The Boss, you’re likely sharing rooms on every trip. I’ve had a room to myself exactly once in 12 years, and it was only by the happenstance of an odd number of people + my seniority. Across several jobs/fields/continents, for me this has been both universal and non-negotiable.

      1. Ann O'Nemity*

        It must vary by school. I’ve worked at two universities, and neither required room sharing for travel for faculty or staff. (Students, unfortunately yes.)

    5. Parenthesis Guy*

      Academia/Research is a big one. I had a co-worker who had to share a room with her twenty year older male boss in order to go to a conference. I suppose if she complained, they wouldn’t have sent her. But just as much as she was helping the boss, this was also a chance for her to network with other people, show off her work and get general exposure. Telling her not to go would have put her at a disadvantage, not just the company.

    6. TK*

      In many non-profits and government settings, it’s super common. Hotel rooms are expensive.

      My mom has worked for a public university for my entire life and travels quite a bit, well a couple times a year at least and sometimes more. Always shared rooms. Until I got on here I honestly was the reverse of you, I had no idea it wasn’t normal for people to share rooms on business trips.

      1. Prefer My Pets*

        Not government…or at least not federal government. I’ve been a civil servant for nearly 30 years now in several different agencies and the only times I’ve ever seen room sharing was for things like fire barracks or really remote work sites where it wasn’t sharing hotel rooms but rather the entire work crew bedding down in sleeping bags in the one-room cabin because no one wants tents on that kind of rocky ground where every plant has spines. All the standard travel that involved hotels, or the occasional airbnb, or staying at federal training centers like NCTC or FLTC in individual rooms.

        1. Baldrick*

          Agreed. I’ve shared a lot of rooms, but only in very austere situations (tents and ships). Never a hotel room!

          1. Baldrick*

            Although in those situations, you’d be lucky to share with only one person. I have slept in a tent for months on end with 15 other people, and temporarily been in tents with hundreds of cots.

            Despite my unwillingness to share a room with one person of the opposite gender, I don’t mind mix-gendered rooms when it’s a big group because there are always multiple people there and I didn’t worry about safety. In those situations we would get changed in the washrooms and each person’s bed became their private space.

        2. Lea*

          I think govt is more concerned about all the other factors (eeos harassment hostile work environment or you name it) to even consider sharing rooms

    7. Enough*

      Coaches on recruiting trips. At least at the D2 and D3 levels. The budgets are tight. She has shared hotel rooms with coaches from other teams that she knows and even an Air bnb with at total of 6 people, 2 male, 4 female ages form 20’s to 40’s. She will and has shared a bed with close friends.

    8. NMitford*

      In the early 2000s, I worked for a Big Five accounting firm that had just gone thru a merger (that took what had been Big Six down to Big Five) and we had to share rooms at something called the Tax Managers Conference. So, this was not a non-profit or higher ed. It was a major accounting firm that you’ve all heard of.

      I don’t know if it was because of the merger, which meant that attendance at internal firm meetings double, but the practice was deeply disliked by every manager who had to attend that conference. Only senior leadership and instructors were exempt.

      My first year, my roommate never showed up. Numerous client-facing employees (I was internal firm services) would suddenly have an urget client issue crop up a few days before the conference began and bow out of attending. In subsequent years, my boss made me an instructor in one of the sales courses. Finally, they switched hotels and the practiced ended.

      But while it was still being used, it was loathed by the victims with all the intensity a fiery sun.

    9. Ashley*

      I know up until very recently, a company that was pretty generous with everything had folks double up on rooms at the major industry event each year. Every other trip you had your own room, but at that one you had to share. It happened to stop the year after they got a female president. It also helped that there were two women the year before the full change- a female vice-president (now president) and a nursing mom. So you would have had a manager sharing with a subordinate, but the nursing mom really needed her own space on top of that. They ended up both getting their own rooms, and I think it helped reevaluate what had been an accepted practice to decades. (It is a male heavy industry so it really was one of the first times you had more then one women at the conference.)

    10. Kevin*

      I worked for a big 4 accounting firm out of college and for the first 5-6 years of my career there, we had an annual training (usually in Orlando) that had roommates. I never personally had an issue with anyone but it was less than ideal. Being fresh out of college it didn’t feel as weird, but for older folks who were just starting with that company I could see that being much weirder (think 30-40 year old sharing a room with a 23 year old).
      That being said I think it was down not to cost but to lack of rooms to house thousands of people because before I quit they built a brand new training complex owned by the company where everyone had their own room when you went for training (it was very nice and I’m mad I only got to go there 1 time before quitting!)

    11. Junior Assistant Peon*

      This goes on a lot at my girlfriend’s nursing conferences, but a lot of them are close personal friends outside of work. It would definitely be considered weird in my industry.

    12. daffodil*

      As a grad student I often shared rooms and beds, but we were often given limited or no funding, and all of us were willing to pile in and save cost. It was organized informally. Sometimes more senior grad students would have funding and cover a greater portion or all of the room but let more junior grad students stay with them.
      As a faculty member I’ll still share a room/bed with a best friend at a conference because we want to hang out as much as possible and as a bonus economize limited travel funds, but it’s my choice and never assigned.

    13. katydid*

      Education– especially public education. There’s an expectation that you’ll attend conferences, etc, but usually only part of (if any) of the travel costs are reimbursed by the school system. So you end up traveling with colleagues, and sharing rooms, and sometimes beds, because you’re paying out-of-pocket.

      My first year at a school I worked at in my mid-2os, I had to share a bed at a conference with a colleague who was sick, and I didn’t want to seem difficult so I didn’t object. I ended up getting the worst flu I’ve ever had.

    14. Jane Anonsten*

      I work for an electric utility and when we mobilize folks for storm response the expectation is 2 people per room. It’s not because we’re cheap, it’s because sometimes that’s the literal only way you’re going to get enough rooms (and even then we not infrequently run into a situation where there are no more rooms in a 50 mile radius). It’s more efficient to say “expectation is double occupancy” than it is to try to determine how many rooms are available, especially because we’re sometimes scrambling to find rooms before the crew finishes work for the day.

    15. Llama Llama*

      20 years ago my husband worked for Target and often helped open stores. Stores where it wasn’t unheard if to get $100k in a day. When he helped open stores out of town, they had him share rooms (not beds!!). Often the motels were sketchy as well. Cheap jerks.

    16. Seeking Second Childhood*

      As I mentioned above , I briefly worked for a small magazine that sent staff to an industry convention. We were there to cover events and drum up business for the magazine. The others had to share rooms; I took advantage of my insanely long commute to sleep in my own bed because the venue was near my apartment. Apparently the first time the magazine staff traveled, some people did end up two in a bed, but they learned to be more specific on future reservations.

    17. Prof*

      Academia, especially when you’re a grad student. Bed sharing is common too, so 4 to a room. At least sometimes, you know the people (which can be better or worse). happens mostly when funding sucks and you’re basically paying out of pocket on your crappy stipend.

  8. Meemur*

    I once had to share a hotel and bed with my boss’s wife. She was lovely so it was fine, but…my boss was also on the trip! He was staying for five days and we were only there for two. He went on a Monday and we arrived on Wednesday so I get that it was easier to just keep him in the single room for the whole trip, but it was still extremely weird

    1. Clisby*

      Why didn’t you and the boss just switch rooms? Then he could have slept with his wife, and you could have had your own bed.

      1. Meemur*

        I don’t really know. I was in my early 20s at the time and just sort of went along with it. I absolutely would not now. I guess he just didn’t want the hassle of moving from the single room to the double and then back to the single again after we left. But trust me, I did spend most of the time thinking, “Why aren’t you sleeping with your wife?”

        1. Sunny*

          I’d be side-eyeing my husband so hard if he told me it was too much hassle to switch rooms and that I’d just have to share with one of his employees. I don’t think it would even occur to him as an option to not move rooms while I was there.

          1. LJ*

            to try to see it in the most charitable possible light, it’s not just the boss switching rooms, it’s the employee having to switch rooms. Having said that, I’d bet the employee would’ve preferred to switch rooms midweek (and then share with the boss’s wife I guess…) rather than sharing the whole week, but given 2 bad choices, I can see someone erring on one side or another

        2. IndigoBlue*

          This setup is happening for a conference I’m going to in a couple weeks, except that he’s not leaving halfway through.

          And at her level of seniority, she isn’t required to have a roommate.

          I’m very, very confused about the whole thing, but I also Do Not Want To Know and plan to just lie as low as I possibly can.

  9. Chairman of the Bored*

    I think requiring employees to share rooms is preposterous, and would encourage LW to make a stink and get her own room.

    However, assuming that people will be sharing rooms for budget purposes is the idea that a gender-blind approach is better or is there another preferred alternative?

    Everybody choosing their own roomie based on whoever they would be most comfortable with is obviously the ideal, but I could see some practical issues with arranging that plus the problem of some people not having *anybody* volunteering to share with them.

    1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      Also the idea of some people using it to further their office affair. Which one would hope the company would notice that — but I am not taking bets on that.

    2. The dark months*

      I was travelling with an all male crew, and me (f). We had to share rooms, this is common and it is understood before I took this job. I had people I would NOT share a room with, told the crew lead and it was fine. Do I prefer my own room? Oh yes all the time, I would really prefer to not have a roommate.

      1. Banana Pyjamas*

        When I traveled with an all male team, they got me my own room. Otherwise yeah it’s normal to share in my field.

    3. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

      Yeah, let’s NOT bring in middle school dynamics of “hey who wants to be my roomie”. I’d rather have it be random than have all the anxiety of needing to ask someone, and get turned down, and ask again, and again….

    4. AdminAssistantGirl*

      I think maybe there could be a form sent to the people invited on the trip where they confirm they’re planning to go and could check boxes for things like, “would be open to sharing a room with anyone”, “would only be comfortable sharing a room with someone of the same gender”, and other pertinent things like that, then they could pair roommates that way. If there were hundreds of people invited to the trip, that would make things difficult but I’m not sure how common it is for hundreds of people to go on work trips – it could work for trips with a smaller amount of people invited though. It would be more work for the company to set up but I think it’s only right for them to take on the work of making sharing rooms as comfortable as possible if they’re going to make people share a room at all.

    5. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

      I could be persuaded to share a room with another woman (not a bed!), but there is absolutely no way I am sharing a room with a man. No way, not an option, it’s just not happening. I don’t care if it’s hetero normative, I don’t care who thinks that is wrong. It’s my boundary and I’m sticking with it.

      Probably the argument between people like me and the people who really care about being gender blind would derail the more important issue, which is bed sharing.

    6. JMU*

      The one time I had to share a room (not a bed) was in 2016 (grad student in French academia). There were 5 men (including me) and a woman. The woman got to choose who she would share a room with, she picked me. The other four men were asked to pick their arrangement and that was it. I suppose I could have refused but there was certainly social pressure to go with the flow (what is your problem? you don’t like her? or you don’t like women in general? etc.)

      It turned out fine (except from some light teasing from the other four men, but what have you).

      With the hindsight of having seen closely a few workplace sexual misconduct cases: this is not ideal. First, female sexual predators exist even if they are much rarer than male ones, and “woman picks” obviously empowers them.

      Second, matters of safety should not be trusted to the gut feeling of potential victims. As a matter of principle, “she picked her roommate” is victim-blaming of the same level as “she wore a short dress”. As a matter of fact, it is impossible to predict that someone will not misbehave before the fact – if you think that person A could never do X because of his character, you know him well etc., sorry, but you are overconfident.

    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Honestly, I wouldn’t want to share a bed with my brother or my nephew either.

      I have camped with mixed-gender/mixed-orientation friends in small tents, but somehow the camping aspect changes the dynamic. (If nothing else when it was 45°F/7.5°C we all changed inside sleeping bags!)

    1. Chairman of the Bored*

      Agreed. One of the nice things about being new to a job is that you have an opportunity to set new precedents without people being able to fall back on “but you’ve done this beeeeefooooooore”.

      This is an opportunity to establish from Day 1 that LW doesn’t share rooms.

  10. Jennifer Strange*

    I work for a non-profit with little money. Even when I’ve gone to a conference for them I’ve only had to share a room (still not ideal, but I get it). I would never, NEVER share a bed with a co-worker.

  11. The teapots are on fire*

    When I was working in an academic library in the late 1990s – early 200os, the library would only pay half your conference costs (conference attendance was optional) unless you were presenting. It was common to share rooms, often 4 to a quad, which meant sharing beds, and I once shared a room with my boss. I’m not saying it is all fine, but it was common.

    1. Annie*

      Co-signed. “You’ve never shared a hotel room and two beds with three of your coworkers?” was one of the many, many “wow, I guess academia *is* a little weird” moments I had after jumping ship for a non-academic career. Our department wouldn’t cover full travel costs even for presenters. We huddled like sardines.

  12. Beany*

    This sounds awful to me (cis male). I haven’t shared a hotel room with anyone on work trips since … the 90s? Now my main issue is that I sleep badly/keep late hours, and I snore, so I would not be a good room-buddy for anyone. Same bed? WAY out.

    But I think a big part of the problem is that the hotel industry — or the budget-to-mid level I use — seems to take “single king” or “double queen” as the norm. Almost all their rooms assume two adults sharing (and it’s the default for all the travel booking portals I use too). This makes it really inefficient for business travelers, who generally are *not* bringing significant others. I wish they could make more single-person oriented rooms available.

    1. Person from the Resume*

      Interesting. I see two queens (rarely see doubles in hotels) in a hotel as fairly common. I’d guess it’s a pretty even split or even more split in favor of two beds to a room. When travelling alone or with my partner, I’m fine with requesting a room with only one bed and I get more room to move around because the rooms are usually the same size whether they have one or two beds.

      But that’s a good point that for business travel where people share rooms, those rooms with only one bed should be taken out of the mix. Or the big bosses who are not sharing rooms get those rooms with only bed.

      1. WellRed*

        Yeah I’m actually surprised they aren’t getting rooms with two actual beds. I usually have to request a single king or queen instead of two.

      2. Annie*

        Right, I was thinking this whole setup with one bed and a pullout was strange. It’s very common in every hotel I’ve been at in the U.S. (and even in Mexico and China) that there is either a king or two queens. Two queens is very common unless you specifically request a king size bed.
        So nearly anywhere you go and any hotel should have that accommodation.

    2. TK*

      Wait, I’m confused. People stay alone in hotels all the time. What’s wrong with a single king room when you’re on your own?

      1. Beany*

        Sorry, this may be my bias at work.

        To me, a king is inherently a two-person bed (even queens are pretty big). I mean, they’re very nearly square, and you can sleep on them sideways if you wanted. Moreover, when I get offered “two queens” or “one king” rooms on hotels.com, they’re *both* marketed towards two adults sharing.

        1. TK*

          Of course a king is made for 2 people, but there’s nothing wrong or odd with it being used only by one. Hotels are of course going to design rooms for more than one person, because it’s most efficient. Why have a room that only accommodates sleeping one in the bed when a bed for two can fit in the same space.

          In the context of this post, I don’t see how this is “a big part of the problem” or even part of the problem at all. Nobody is looking at a room with a single king bed and viewing it as a problem when putting one person in a room for business travel. I’m confused what “inefficiency” you think is happening here that contributes.

          1. Hendry*

            I *think* what they’re saying is that if hotels had rooms that were specifically designed for one person, they might have a lower cost and therefore fewer companies would require roommates

            1. Annie*

              I get that, but it makes sense to have the flexibility of having a room that two people can share, because even if there’s only one person, it still fits for them. So the one king size bed can be used for 1 or 2 people, whereas a smaller bed would be limiting who could stay in the room.

          2. UKDancer*

            Agreed. Even when I’m on my own I try and avoid single rooms because they’re really small in the UK. I like a nice big bed, room for my laptop to work at and plenty of room to spread out.

      2. Ellis Bell*

        This is where I fall too; whenever I’ve been single, I still had a double bed at home because, it’s not like my bedroom shrank when I broke up with someone and what else would I use the space for? If I was going on a budget holiday where large rooms are shared, like a hostel dorm, or one time I stayed in a cabin bunkhouse which is a slightly warmer version of camping, then yeah it makes sense to squeeze smaller beds in. When you’re talking about standard sized rooms in hotels, it’s as easy to put a large bed in it, as it is to put a small one; then the room can be sold to couples as well as singles.

    3. alex*

      And, single-person rooms for an actual adult-sized adult. I’ve stayed in two for business trips (think Marriott, Radisson, along those lines) that did have one bed and was clearly designed for a single person. But, the beds were so tiny!! I’m a petite female and I couldn’t even stretch out my legs all the way.

    4. Antilles*

      How is it inefficient?

      If you have a room with a “single king” or “double queen”, that room can be used for either a single traveler or a pair of travelers. If you have a room with a single queen, that room can *only* be used for a single business traveler. The slight bit of wasted space is worth it for the hotel to have maximum versatility in booking rooms and avoiding scenarios where you have to turn someone down because there isn’t space.

      1. New Jack Karyn*

        I think OP is saying that there might be a more efficient mix of room from the hotel’s point of view.

        Let’s say that a ‘single’ room with one queen bed and a little less space takes up 75% of the footprint of a double queen. If the hotels designed/converted half of their double queens to be single queens instead, they’d have more rooms.

    5. Orv*

      I think this is because hotels are cheaper to build if the rooms are mostly all alike, so they all get built large enough for either a single king or two queens. I’m also seeing a trend toward mini-suites nowadays, with a bed in a separate room from a sitting area (sometimes with its own fold-out bed.)

      You sometimes see older hotels that offer rooms with double or full beds, but modern hotels and ones that have been extensively renovated generally don’t. I think the assumption is that people who are booking four or five star hotels want the luxury of the extra space, and people who don’t want to pay for that will go to a one- or two-star motel instead.

      1. Ellis Bell*

        Yeah, it might be cheaper to build if two rooms share a bathroom, but I don’t see how building more small rooms with more walls, and their own tiny bathrooms could be cheaper. Mini suites are a pretty great idea though; somewhat shared resources, but separate bedrooms. More like having a flatmate than a bedfellow. Actually, maybe more companies should consider renting apartments.

        1. Katie Impact*

          There are apparently now “conference motels” in some areas with very limited amenities but enough shared spaces to hold conferences for budget-conscious fields; I can’t say how popular they are in practice, though.

  13. Evil Queen of Dysfunction*

    I only had to share a room once on a work trip and it ticked me off. The managers had to share rooms when we to our annual conference, but when the owners went to THEIR conference (at a much nicer locale) they bragged about how much time they spent at the spa.

    I didn’t bother to complain as I was on my way out anyway (For other reasons.)

    But this is once again an example of how you treat people impacts their longevity.

  14. Person from the Resume*

    My own bias as a person who only once in my adult life have shared a bed with someone not my partner (it was a personal trip), I would assume that that they are thinking that one person will take the bed and one person will take the couch. Since these pull out couches are usually pretty bad, I would not be happy about it.

    And for one night, how do you decide who gets the shitty couch and who gets the luxurious king sized bed? I don’t want to get stuck with the couch because I am the one refusing to share and the other person is willing to share a bed.

    Also note, I was in the military for many years and slept in not great conditions (many a gender segregated, shared dorm room, tent, trailer), but I was never, ever asked to share a bed with someone. Shared rooms I am blase about; I am still shocked when someone in a business context assumes coworkers sharing beds is okay.

    1. mlem*

      Yeah, I worry the scripts will run aground when the company responds, “Oh, no, of COURSE we don’t require anyone to share beds! There are two separate sleeping surfaces! You’re such a weirdo to assume we would expect anyone to share a bed!” Possibly with a side of “What, are you too *good* for a pull-out bed? Do you think we’re made of money?”

    2. thatoneoverthere*

      I have shared beds with my BFFs on fun trip. Thats pretty much all I will do. Even then, the last time we went it was awful, everyone snored and flopped around all night. We are in our 30s. I am springing for my own room next time!

    3. JustaTech*

      And here’s a fun additional wrinkle: these days it’s quite common for hotels to not have full housekeeping every day, so let’s say that the two people say “OK, one of use sleeps in the real bed tonight and then switch tomorrow”, but the sheets on the beds haven’t been changed. Are folks going to be OK with that?

  15. RussianInTexas*

    1. This sucks.
    2. I do think the room assignment based on gender is totally find. If you MUST assign roommates, that is.

    1. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

      The potential issue I could see if if 2 women (or 2 men) are paired, and one is gay and the other is straight, the straight one might be afraid that the gay one would assault them. Because we’re all predators, you know.

      1. just some guy*

        Or if somebody is transgender.

        Ultimately, any rooming plan based on the details of what people have inside their underwear, or what they want to do with it, gets into people speculating about what their co-workers might have inside their underwear or what they might want to do with it. That rarely ends well.

    2. Jennifer Strange*

      While that may seem straightforward in theory, it’s another way in which non-binary/gender fluid folks may end up being othered.

  16. KHB*

    If the “one bed” is two beds pushed together, is it possible (and perhaps expected) for you to pull them apart? A lot of hotel rooms are set up this way, with beds that can be reconfigured as either one double or two twins depending on the circumstances.

    Before you raise holy hell about the bed-sharing, I’d want to make sure that’s what’s really going on here. Based on the information provided, it doesn’t sound like it is.

    1. doreen*

      Yes – it’s more common on cruise ships but I have seen hotels where there are two beds that can either be pushed together and made up into one or left separate.

      1. KHB*

        I’ve encountered it more in Europe than in the US, but it is definitely a thing that happens.

        Between the possibly reconfigurable beds and the pull-out couch, it doesn’t seem like any bed-sharing is expected here. The post headline is a bit hyperbolic.

        1. MCMonkeyBean*

          I agree, I think you can push back on having to share a room at all (though frankly I would not expect the company to happily agree to double the number of rooms they are booking without a big group pushback) but I would definitely not frame it as if they are making you share a bed as it does not sound like that is the case.

    2. RussianInTexas*

      In my travels in the US I don’t think I’ve ever came across two beds pushed together vs one king or queen or two queens.
      Not overseas either, although I mostly stayed in the chain hotels.

      1. Orv*

        Often the mattresses on king-sized beds in US hotels are actually two single mattresses with a gap filler, because singles are much easier to maneuver into the room. But they’re usually made up with one set of king-sized sheets, and placed on a king-sized platform.

      1. KHB*

        If you are curious what it looks like, look up the webpage for the “Hotel Les Deux Girafes” in Paris (a random hotel that I otherwise know nothing about – it was just the first one that popped up on Google Maps when I started zooming in on Europe). All the double rooms are described as having “a comfortable double bed (or two single beds),” and in the photos of the beds in which the bed legs are visible, it’s clear that the double beds are two single beds pushed together.

        1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

          Oh, it’s easy to visualize. I’m just saying that the expectation that hotels are usually set up this way doesn’t hold up everywhere. (When I’ve been in Europe I’ve either stayed at a B&B type place with my wife or in a hotel by myself, so “room for two in a hotel” isn’t something I have much experience with there.)

          1. KHB*

            I mean, I’m also well aware that lots of hotels are NOT set up that way. But given OP’s actual comment about the bed looking like two beds pushed together, it’s reasonable enough to wonder whether in this particular case, the bed really is two beds pushed together.

    3. Person from the Resume*

      Granted, it looks like two beds pushed together so there’s room to build a pillow barrier (joke) …

      I assume the “joke” was the massive size of king or possible queen sized bed compared to what the LW is used to. Again that could be my personal bias. I have a double bed in my master bedroom. Many people I know (whose bedrooms I have seen) have a double bed rather than a queen or king sized bed. For costs, to fit in the room of their house, because they don’t need larger bed. When you’re used to a double, even sharing a double those hotel kings and queens look ridiculously large and hotels seem to have enough pillows that you can build a pillow barrier and still have pillows left over.

    4. Ellis Bell*

      “Before you raise holy hell about the bed-sharing”…. I actually think it’s probably more powerful wording to go in with “Of course you wouldn’t intend us to share beds” I’d probably preface with “Just wanted to flag, we might not have enough beds booked for the conference. On the photographs the pull out couches in the rooms look like they might only be extra child beds. I know the rooms (which have one bed) are down as being double occupancy, but I think that’s for couples, whereas obviously colleagues wouldn’t share beds. Just wanted to let you know we should check it out in case there isn’t enough beds.”

      1. KHB*

        This is tricky, because OP is The New Person. For all she knows, this team has a long history of staying in similar hotels – or maybe even this exact hotel – and they know far better than she does whether they booked enough beds. Before she goes in and accuses the organizers (even implicitly) of botching the hotel booking, I’d suggest she discreetly check with a longer-tenured coworker about what the hotel accommodations tend to look like on trips like this.

  17. VP of Monitoring Employees' LinkedIn and Indeed Profiles*

    In the past, I have taken two approaches to mandatory room-sharing:

    (1) pay for my own room, whether at the same hotel or a different one.

    (2) decline to participate in the conference.

    1. Ashley*

      What is the liability though other then someone accidentally getting hit in their sleep by their co-worker? If someone is known to have night terrors or something of that level I feel like that would need to be disclosed and asking for a reasonable accommodation, but I think this is more of an ick factor of people being in my personal space then liability.

      1. Anonychick*

        1) Don’t discount someone accidentally getting hit (or kicked!) by their sleeping co-worker! I’ve gotten bruises sharing a bed with a flailing co-sleeper, and been nudged out of (a queen-sized) bed by a co-sleeping child!

        2) It’s not an employee’s responsibility to disclose something that has no bearing on their day-to-day work life, especially when that thing is something that can cause others to look at them differently (like night terrors).

        3) I can think of one very obvious liability issue, and it has to do with ways in which people unconsciously move their bodies while asleep…especially if they’re used to sharing a bed with their partner. And that’s all I have to say about that.

        1. No Tribble At All*

          Agree with #3…. I’m a sleep snuggler. I’ll snuggle my husband, I’ll snuggle a pillow, I’ll (attempt) to snuggle the cat… if you put any vaguely soft object near me while I’m asleep, it’s getting snuggled. Would be really awkward for a coworker to wake up with me as the big spoon.

  18. Bluz*

    Why the heck is this still happening in this day and age?? I understand the company wants to cut costs but that’s unacceptable. Sharing a bed with a colleague is weird and creepy.

    1. Banana Pyjamas*

      It’s obvious to me, as the person who always took the pull-out, that the company expects someone to do just that. It’s really not that wild.

  19. Llama Llama*

    If an organization cannot afford to get an employee their own room (let alone their own bed!!) then they cannot afford this trip.

    1. Lisa*

      This is probably the premise of a romcom. A man and a woman with gender-ambiguous names are unintentionally assigned to share a room with one bed, no other rooms are available, hilarity ensues.

      1. A reader*

        Actually it is they lost the reservation for the second room, but I have a double booked so we can share. They get to the room and it is only one king. In fairness he offered to get a second room, but she insisted it was ok. I seriously just read this plot a few weeks ago.

      2. Annie*

        I can’t recall the name of the show, but I’m pretty sure there are some TV shows in which the college assigned roommates with gender-ambiguous names and yeah, romance ensues eventually.

      3. Gigi*

        I did read that fanfic. Colleague roommates and they had to get fake engaged to keep the arrangement because otherwise it would have been changed the first day. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. with pairing Illya and Gaby.

        1. Gigi*

          Though they didn’t have to share one bed. Unless technically it was a bunk bed but I don’t really recall.

      4. Pyjamas*

        It’s a subplot in the tv series Dance Academy Season 1. Possibly bc they are all dancers at the school, the roommates get along fine :)

    2. Nobby Nobbs*

      Or Moby Dick. (I will die on the hill that the fact that it was normal to share a hotel bed with a stranger back then makes that one more homoerotic, not less. If there was a social script for being normal about that situation, that means Ishmael and Queequeg Made A Choice.)

  20. Cabbagepants*

    The only time I’ve shared a bed was at a conference as a grad student, and that was awful. we had four people in a room with two queen beds. I got zero sleep.

    1. Polaris*

      Concur. Attended a few student leadership “things” in my day, and typically as an undergrad, it was 4 to a room, and if we wanted other than that we could pay out of pocket. And as a broke undergrad, it seemed more acceptable, and nearly considered a bonding experience. I will definitely agree that very little sleep was had, though more likely to do with either preparing presentations or playing poker.

      I have a fairly neutral first name especially amongst my peer age group. Sometimes that became amusing when initial assignments came out. It was never a long term problem, as at least those organizations adjusted assignments as needed with zero pushback and always with an apology.

  21. Abba*

    While it’s annoying that they want you to share a room, they almost definitely intend for one person to use the pull-out couch. Those kinds of couches also aren’t that wide because that will essentially be the width of the bed, which will most likely be a full-to-queen size mattress. It will almost definitely be longer than it is wide. If you do want to make a point of it, you can definitely ask to confirm that the pull-out will turn out to be an adult-sized mattress.

    1. Filosofickle*

      Agreed. The pull-out is the second bed. I’ve used those in hotels and they’re okay enough. It’s probably a full-size — twin pull-outs exist but i’ve never seen that in a hotel.

      I still don’t want to share a room, but it does seem like everyone is jumping to sharing a bed and I do not believe that is the intent here.

      1. Banana Pyjamas*

        Concur. I regularly traveled on a team of three in a suite with two beds and a couch, and I always took the pull-out. I’m annoyed by the number of people pretending that’s not even an option. That’s the item’s secondary use, and it’s perfectly reasonable to expect people to use it.

    2. Socks*

      Yeah, I think it’s a little bizarre so many comments are running with the idea that the company intends for them to share beds when OP says there’s a pullout couch. I don’t think they should have to share rooms either but if OP goes in complaining about “shared beds” they’re going to come off very oddly.

      1. Kalros, the mother of all thresher maws*

        Yeah, I’m honestly confused. If the organizer’s assistant is bringing up the pull-out beds, it’s because they’re expecting attendees to use them rather than spoon their colleagues. I’ve never seen a pull-out sofa “pulled out” on a hotel website, but they are typically the width of the sofa and long enough for an adult to fit easily. Sharing rooms is still not ideal, and “who gets the cozy bed and who gets the shitty folded mattress” is a whole other issue best avoided, but there are two separate sleeping surfaces in the rooms.

        So if you do decide to go along with the shared rooms this time to avoid making waves, LW, be assured that your roommate is not expecting to sleep next to you. But I would also opt for privacy in more modest digs over a shared room in a four-star any day, personally, so I sympathize in any case.

  22. Ash*

    Most pull-out couch mattresses in hotel rooms are double bed sized. I agree that sharing rooms with coworkers is not great, but I don’t think that the company is assuming people will share a bed. Did the LW see the size of the mattress in the photo, or just the size of the couch?

  23. Joyce to the World*

    I had a boss that made me share a bed with her when we traveled to conferences. She had a twin size air mattress that she put on the bed next to me and all night it was hard flip flopping and weird noises. Next conference she assumed it would be OK again and I protested and slept on a roll away bed. Good thing I am only 5’2 and it fit me fine.

  24. Wilbur*

    On the pull-out couch-I’m guessing it’s more of a love seat, but it will still pull out to be the same length as a full/twin size bed. Still going to be really uncomfortable though.

  25. LynnP*

    Several years ago I attended a conference paid for with government grant money. The conference was on a college campus and we were housed in dorms, not a dorm with suites but one with a communal bathroom down the hall. I was also assigned to share a room with a co-worker because we were the same gender. The arrangements were not communicated until after the travel had been booked so I sucked it up but let the organizers and my employer know that the arrangements were a deal breaker in the future.

  26. Nona*

    If every room has a bed and a pullout (therefore two beds, which rooms like this are in fact often sold as two bed rooms) they are absolutely not expecting anybody to actually share one and going in guns ablazing like they are is liable to make you look bad. You can push back on the roomsharing. I would not push back on the gendered assignments; whether it’s right of wrong it’s very normal and you are brand new. I don’t think it’s the worth expending what little capital you have.

    1. Banana Pyjamas*

      Agreed. They will definitely be wondering why you think you’d be sharing a bed and whether or not your workplace norms are appropriately calibrated.

  27. Brain the Brian*

    I think this is a classic case of old “power in numbers” AAM adage. *You* may not want to be the person who goes out of the way to point out something like this (especially if your company culture — like mine — doesn’t involve things like “wasting time” looking at hotel arrangements that others have made), but banding together can make a huge difference. The script in that case would be something like “A few of us were looking at the hotel online, and it looks like the rooms all have only one bed. Is the expectation that one employee in each room uses the pull-out couch? Can the couch accommodate all body sizes and types? It looks pretty tiny online. Either way, will that be fair and equitable to that employee? We can’t imagine we’re being asked to share a bed with a coworker, so we wanted to check.”

    I will second Alison’s suggestion to keep gender out of it. I’m a gay man and have been uncomfortable sharing rooms with other men since childhood, but it risks derailing the conversation if, for instance, the organizers think gay employees are requesting “special treatment” (e.g. a separate room while the straight employees continue to share).

  28. CR*

    I wouldn’t even bring it up or try to reason with them, I would immediately say “I am booking my own room as sharing beds with a coworker is inappropriate.” The end.

    1. Banana Pyjamas*

      They don’t expect coworkers to share beds. They expect people to use the pull-out for its intended purpose.

  29. Admin Amber*

    Straight up No! No sharing rooms or beds on a business trip. You are already having your routine upended for this trip and should have your own space for quiet time and personal business. I am mystified why companies think this is okay.

  30. Minerva*

    What is this, the start of a romance novel??

    More seriously though, add PTSD to the list of medical reasons not to make people share a bed!

  31. Nicole12*

    I had to sleep four to a room (sharing queen beds) at my first job at a higher-ed adjacent organization; the role was aimed at your first and second year out of college. We didn’t know any better to push back, and this was seen as a cost-saving measure by the org.

    One day, we had a very early morning and shorted out the room’s electricity by having four women blowdry/straighten their hair simultaneously. We had to frantically go down and ask the front desk to restore power.

    I would absolutely not ever do this again and would push back at any org that asked me to share a bed (or room). Funny the things you put up with in first jobs!

  32. NotARealManager*

    It sounds like they’re expecting one person to take the bed and the other to take the couch. It’s not comfortable, but I would make sure you’re pushing back on that fact not co-workers sharing a bed because I don’t think that’s what they’re intending.

    1. Saturday*

      Agree – it doesn’t sound to me like they expect people to use the same bed, so if you tell them that’s the problem, they’ll say it’s already been solved.

  33. NotyourGrandma*

    I have a conference this coming fall. I’ve already made it plain that I’m noping out of sharing a room. I know it’s company policy to have people share, but I. JUST.CANNOT! At the end of the day, my social battery is depleted and I must have downtime/privacy.
    I’m more than willing to pay the cost differential if necessary.

  34. Cubicles and Chimeras*

    I think Alison even downplayed the impact to the queer community in sharing beds. So many queer people – not even trans – could be put at risk of their safety by having to share beds with the same sex. All someone has to do is find out they’re attracted to the same sex and people could be accusing them of all kinds of things. This is enough to give me nightmares as a pansexual, as a trans person it makes me even more terrified about what the outcome could be.

    I feel for any of these people who potentially are a part of the lgbtq+ community, that is some terrifying stuff to balance outing yourself with safety with this entire mess.

  35. Kel*

    So, I know this is like, besides the point, but as someone trans non-binary….

    Not sure how you’d assign me to a room with someone of the same gender.

    1. ProductMgr Replaced by AI*

      As a non-binary person who has encountered this situation – I put a note in the spreadsheet that I identified as non-binary and was willing to share with someone of any gender. A cis female colleague offered to share but then wound up changing her plans, so I had my own room but had been seen following the policy.

      (I was at a level in the org where I could have probably just decided to have my own room, but I did it to make a point about gender assumptions and was 95% sure that I would wind up with my own room anyway. At another conference where a smaller group of us were attending and the rest of the group were all men, I decided it was easiest to pass as a woman and enjoy my own room while everyone else shared.)

      1. Emily Byrd Starr*

        But…is anyone of any gender willing to share a room with you? Sorry, but I’m not comfortable sharing a room with a person who is AMAB, has male genitalia, and looks like a man; even if they identify as nonbinary.

        1. Ellis Bell*

          The colleague who offered to share was?! Also the commenter already said they were fairly sure they’d end up in a solo room, so not sure what you’re pointing out here.

        2. Kel*

          I’m not getting into this, but there is no way for you to know, nor should there be, if someone has ‘male’ genitalia. You work with them, you don’t know what’s in their pants. Also “looks like a man”? What does that mean? This is a really transphobic comment.

        3. Aqua*

          this is horrifically transphobic. I hope you don’t end up sharing a room with a trans person in future, as I would be concerned for the trans person’s wellbeing

    2. Anonychick*

      True story: when I (AFAB & nonbinary) was an inpatient recently, I overheard the nurses talking about how they were struggling with staffing for female rooms (but not male ones) and so wouldn’t be able to take any more female patients onto the unit. Truly not giving AF, I pointed out that I’m legally enby (ie, my license says X, not F), so if they wanted to move me over to the male side, that would be fine. Instead, they kind of blinked for a second, confirmed that my ID said X, realized they weren’t sure how to categorize me, and decided I should have my own room so they wouldn’t have to figure it out with legal. Score!

  36. Mrs. Hawiggins*

    My answer: “I will pay for my own room this weekend.”

    “And look for a new job on Monday.”

    No way would I do this.

  37. Sparklecat*

    I am in a creative field, and sharing rooms is common and STILL egregious. I have TWICE been told that I can either share a room or pay the difference to get my own hotel room!!!!

    I have no idea what the solution is for any of it but—employers, if your budget isn’t big enough to give your employees a private place to sleep, you need to seriously evaluate the viability of your project from the start.


  38. Stuart Foote*

    This reminds me of the time I was with a co-worker on a business trip, and he said he thought that while the company gave everyone their own room, he thought it would make sense to save money by having employees share a room.

    This was a construction company where a lot of the field workers have to travel around the company. For those folks, sharing a room is the near-universal norm to cut costs. There are a lot of comments here indignant at the mere idea of sharing (which would be my reaction too), but for a very large number of people sharing a room is just the reality of their job.

  39. Yoli*

    I have mostly worked in places where sharing a room (but not a bed) is common (schools/school districts), but in just the past few years several local districts and ed nonprofits have moved away from that. The reasons being 1) the assumption of heteronormativity and forcing people to out themselves and 2) the risk of liability in the event of sexual harassment or assault. It’s not prohibited to share, but we’re in California and required to do mandatory harassment modules each year, so I imagine that played a role as well.

  40. General von Klinkerhoffen*

    I feel strongly that on a work trip you are on the clock until and unless you are on your own and in a position to kick back. If I had to share a room with a colleague, I would be “on” 24/7 and would be too exhausted to work productively.

  41. mreasy*

    I have duly convinced my current workplace that sharing rooms, which they have required for decades, is unacceptable and now nobody has to!

    Sharing a bed is straight up never.

  42. PLH*

    You say the beds are pushed together. Could you ask for the beds to be separated? If that cannot be accommodated then please ask for your room.

  43. t-vex*

    I think the fact that you’re new might be beneficial. It’s sometimes helpful that an outside person comes in and says “What the hell is going on here, this has to stop.” (That happened at my company once–unrelated to hotel accommodations–and it really opened everyone’s eyes to say you know, you’re right.)

  44. tinybutfierce*

    This immediately gave me flashbacks to my last terrible job. As a retail manager, I had to go two hours out of town to assist with a new store opening. Instead of spending money on a hotel, they had me and two other employees just stay at the local manager’s house; the two men figured out sleeping arrangements in the living room with one couch, while I shared the female manager’s bed (we were thankfully friends outside of work, but I still wasn’t crazy about it). I also got to share the bed after voicing I honestly wasn’t comfortable sharing sleeping arrangements/space with a man who’s a complete stranger to me (a femme non-binary person) and got A Look in response.

  45. Non-profit drone*

    I would just look straight at the room-assigner and say “I can’t share a room for medical reasons.” No other explanation. Repeat as necessary.

    1. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

      I know. when I saw the title of this blog post, I immediately thought, “Argh, this again?” X-D

    1. Ex-prof*

      I should add: I was in one of the fields where it’s expected, i.e. education.

      When you’re in education nobody’s getting rich off your work except society.

    2. Banana Pyjamas*

      Yes, I have slept on the pull-out several times on business trip. That’s what it’s there for.

  46. MsVanS*

    I had to share a bed with a coworker at a retreat for a legal practice in the early 2010s. Prior to the same retreat, I was asked if I minded if folks partook in cannabis (which was not legal in the state) at the retreat. I said no, but then when I did not partake too, it caused a big brouhaha, and I was pushed out months later.

    1. Database Developer Dude*

      That’s insane. I would have claimed membership in the Army Reserve, and said I was subject to urinalysis so I couldn’t risk it.

      (Then again, even if it weren’t true, I’d have claimed it….but it is)

      1. MsVanS*

        Yeah, it was the kind of thing you could lose your bar membership over, so I think they worried I’d snitch! For years, I checked the local bar magazine to see if any of them had lost their licenses to practice over that or … countless other indiscretions. Fun place to start a legal career!

  47. ABC*

    OP, can you clarify whether there are two small, separate beds (shown as pushed together on the hotel’s website, for whatever reason) plus a sofa bed, or a single larger bed with a sofa bed? It seemed like the former when you mentioned the pillow barrier, but then the assistant told you that it was the latter?

  48. Perfectly Cromulent Name*

    Academia. I used to pay for my own room because I literally refused to share a room after doing it one time, and it was considered “difficult” because of it…but if I booked my own room, they could not actually stop me. (That’s a whole lot of privilege there, and many of my colleagues did not have the financial resources to do this.) Basically, I called their bluff, “Well, if you really insist on your own room, you would have to pay for it.” And then they were annoyed when I did it.

    We were never expected to share beds, though. Immediately no on that!

    I’m an introvert, and being at conferences sucked out every ounce of my energy- I could not face sharing a room on top of it.

    1. Zarniwoop*

      Why were they annoyed when you got your own room? That’s one less person’s accommodation coming out of the grant money.

      1. Caliente Papillon*

        Omg don’t you know? Once “the law” has been laid people hate for you to go against them – particularly when your actions are illustrating their ridiculousness.

      2. Perfectly Cromulent Name*

        No idea- but it was a whole *thing.* All the comments were very passive-aggressive, of course! I was treated like some kind of prima-donna who had unreasonable and ridiculous expectations. I’ve since left that job. I’m still in academia, but at a different university that gives everyone their own room when we travel. It’s so nice.

        My spouse works a corporate job, and he has never been asked to share a room during business travel.

  49. Paris Geller*

    No, no, absolutely no! I’m in one of those industries where sharing rooms is common and it’s not great, but it’s tolerable. Sharing a bed or cramping myself into a pull-out bed from a couch (which in my experience are notoriously uncomfortable and I can always feel the springs digging into my back). No, no, just no.

  50. Zarniwoop*

    Buried lede!!!
    “In the future I hope that they can compromise on the 4 star hotel and find something within budget where I’m not sleeping directly next to a colleague.”

    Who came up with this?!?
    I would much rather have my *own* room in a motel with a number in its name than share a room in a 4-star!

    1. e271828*

      The numbered motels tend to be a better deal across the board! Four-star hotels love to pack on those extra charges.

          1. Orv*

            They seemed like they might not respect my personal space, so I checked into a different room across town.

          1. LJ*

            Sure, but it is not a leap to imagine that housekeepers at nicer hotels may be given more time and better equipment to properly clean rooms, and that major conference hotels will do aggressive pest control to minimize the risk to their reputation.

  51. JAnon*

    NOPE. I travel a handful of times a year for work and would not share a room, let alone a bed. If I am taking time away from my family and regular life for work, I still need that downtime at the end of the day to talk to my husband, relax, have some semblance of a nighttime routine. You cannot be ‘on’ 24 hours a day.

  52. Mina, the Company Prom Queen*

    I think the “I’m not comfortable sharing a bed (or a room) with a co-worker” script works. No way do I share either of those. If a company doesn’t want to pay for their employees to travel in a reasonably comfortable manner, they shouldn’t make them travel.

  53. Make it bold and make it red*

    I work for a fully remote, academia-adjacent non-profit, and everyone gets their own room for all work trips (conferences, retreats, etc). The thinking is that people can’t show up and be their best selves at work if they can’t get rest and enjoy privacy in their downtime. It can be done!

  54. BellyButton*

    No. Nope. F*ck no. I won’t even share a room with someone from work. Not sharing a room is a hill I am prepared to die on. I can’t imagine if someone asked me to share a BED. I would not be polite or worry about ruffling feathers or raising hell.

      1. UpstateDownstate*

        Same! I would not attend and might accidentally share the list of room assignments with everyone attending so that they can have a head’s up of what awaits them. :(

    1. Database Developer Dude*

      With you 1000% Granted, I’ve never worked in a place with that much dumbf*ckery, because I’ve been either in uniform or a civilian contractor….but still…. ewwwwwww.

      The Army Reserve’s Lodging In Kind (LIK) program will make you share a room during battle assembly, but they’ll do their best to make sure your roommate is an equivalent rank and gender. What they will NOT do, however, is make you share a bed with the roommate.

      For a traditional weekend, if you travel more than 50 miles to battle assembly, they’ll pay for a room for Saturday evening. If you travel more than 150 miles, they’ll pay for Friday evening as well.

  55. BigWoman*

    One time I had to share an apartment (separate rooms) with a coworker consultant on a project in another state. The administrative assistant, as a representative for the CEO, checked in with me about if I’d be comfortable sharing with him because he was a gay man. I said yes and was thankful at the time that he was gay, because it felt much safer than sharing with a straight man. Looking back I wish I knew what I know now and how to stand up for myself, could have saved a lot of shitty travel arrangements and maybe got some more inclusive, less discriminatory practices.

    1. Emily Byrd Starr*

      I wouldn’t want to share a room with a male coworker, even if he were gay and so there would be zero chance of him making advances on me. I just don’t want to see a male coworker in his underwear or pajamas.

  56. Siri Headroom*

    Ew. I can barely share a bed with my perfect beautiful handsome loving partner. One of us ends up moving to the couch. There’s no way I would consider sharing a room, much less a bed, with anyone.

    I fart in my sleep.

  57. Irish Teacher.*

    If they are two beds pushed together, it’s quite likely the hotel will move them apart if they are asked to. My friend and I once stayed in a room where the two beds were still pushed together when we arrived but when we said it to the staff, they moved them apart. I guess the point of having two beds pushed together was that the room could either function as a double, with one bed, for a couple or a twin, with two beds, for friends or coworkers sharing a room.

    It’s possible they are showing it online with the two beds together because it’s probably more commonly required that way, but that both options are available.

    Obviously, I don’t know, but I can’t see any reason why the hotel wouldn’t separate them.

  58. thatoneoverthere*

    I have a good friend that is an incredibly private person and a pretty big introvert. She had to share a room on a work trip. She tried to get the company to budge to pay for a private room, but they wouldn’t budge. So she booked her own room at the hotel next door. She simply just didn’t show up to the room assignment. This was for a conference so no one was there but her from her company. No one said a word and she was happy.

    I am not saying anyone SHOULD have to resort to it. Bc the company really shouldn’t make anyone share a bed or room (IMO).

  59. UpstateDownstate*

    Omg…you are also being asked to share a bed with a total stranger! Just because you work for the same company does not mean you know them and even if you did why on earth would you want to share a BED with them?

    I do hope you speak up and ask for a private room for yourself. Do not feel like you need to give a reason, but if you do…I would say it’s for medical reasons and leave it at that. What the heck??

  60. Delta Delta*

    I once worked in low cost legal services, and it was expected at certain conferences that people would share a room or would pay a portion of their own room. This was fine and people generally didn’t care about sharing a room.

    One year I had to share with a person I knew and a new person. The new person… was not okay. The new person proceeded to get blind drunk and locked themselves in our room from the inside. We couldn’t get in. Eventually management had to be called but they couldn’t really do anything, and the other roomie ended up in someone else’s room and I slept in my car. I paid for my own room after that.

    1. Cheshire Cat*

      Local or state government, depending on the organization’s overall budget. And local libraries in small or rural areas.

  61. e271828*

    Covid, influenza, RSF, and ordinary respiratory viruses are circulating at high volume and an excellent reason not to share beds or rooms with anyone not in your household.

    They are flying all those people out and decided to cheap out on having them share beds? I think this company cannot be a great place to work in many other ways.

  62. Some People’s Children*

    I worked in city/county government. It shocked people from private industry to find out we weren’t expected to share rooms at conferences. I did once when the budget was very limited but would have drawn the line at sharing a bed, and in that case we’d known each other for many years. So many potential nightmares in room sharing only multiplied by bed sharing. What are they thinking?

  63. HonorBox*

    While I’m not at all interested in sharing a room with a coworker on a work trip, there a couple of things a lot of comments seem to be missing out on. I’d bet the $3 dollars in my desk drawer that the business is not expecting employees to share the bed. The presence of the pull out sofa in those other rooms is the exhibit of that. And I say that not to argue, but just to put some context into the advice for pushing back.

    As for that advice, I’d absolutely push back. I think the LW has a couple of options, even with the short tenure under their belt.

    *LW should ask, as a presenter at the conference, to be put into a room by themself. Because if there’s an expectation that they’re doing more than just attending, they should have expectation of some comfort and additional privacy. Not only will they get better sleep, but they may want to spend some time working / practicing and not have to worry about a roommate.

    *LW could ask the person managing the rooming list for specific confirmation from the hotel about size of the sofa bed and specifics about the mattress. Far, far, far too many sofa bed mattresses are about as thick as those 3 one dollar bills I have in my desk. Point out that a sofa bed is not suited for people of all sizes, and it isn’t going to allow for restful sleep for those who are stuck on those beds.

    *LW should inquire about how soon people know rooming assignments. Is this a surprise at check-in? Are people made aware beforehand so they can plan appropriately? At the very least, this is a courtesy the business should be providing, given the lack of courtesy in forcing them to share rooms.

    *LW should talk to those who are sharing rooms. Collectively, it would be worth pushing back on sharing rooms at all. There are other places that have the meeting space needed AND rooms that at the very least have two actual beds in the room.

    *LW and the collective sharers could make a suggestion that if this same (or similar) four-star location is used in the future that the business find a nearby property that can be used to book other rooms so people don’t have to share rooms. And those nearby properties are likely going to be less expensive so the business isn’t shelling out four-star money for all the extra rooms.

    1. Hlao-roo*

      Yes, there was the “I had to share a bed with a coworker on a business trip” letter from June 29, 2016. It was re-posted on January 15, 2024.

      There have also been a number of room-sharing (but not bed-sharing) letters over the years:

      “company makes us share hotel rooms” March 2, 2010

      “my boss thinks I should share a hotel room with a stranger at a conference” January 19, 2015

      “employee is refusing to share a hotel room, no-talking mornings, and more” November 15, 2016

      “I shared a room with a coworker on a work trip, and their respirator kept me awake all week” April 11, 2018

      “is it normal to assign hotel roommates on a work trip?” March 2, 2021

  64. Ms. Murchison*

    If all of the rooms have those fold-out couches, I’m betting the organizers aren’t seeing this as a bed-sharing situation. They think someone can actually sleep on those uncomfortable beds.

    What boggles my mind is that folks who plan this way don’t understand that they’re throwing the entire event’s money down the drain if they don’t provide accommodations that allow attendees to get a solid night of sleep. What’s the point of shelling out all that money if half or more of your are attendees tired, unable to focus, irritable, or functioning at significantly less than their best?

  65. Gozer (She/Her)*

    Hotel rooms and beds are one of the things I’ll put as much of my political capital as needed into getting right. Living with a spinal injury and being exceptionally tall means I have some very specific needs and a pull out bed/sofa wouldn’t work.

    Additionally sleeping on the sofa over the age of 30= doing your neck in.

    Frankly I’m in the ‘I snore, fart, have night terrors, take up most of the bed and am really not comfortable sleeping in the same room as anyone but my husband and cat’ camp. Although, at least they aren’t telling you to go camping to save on costs (see the AAM archives here for THAT bit of nonsense!)

    I know it’s a culture difference here in the UK but I had the thought of how our unions would react if our finance team told us to keep costs down we were now sharing rooms. Pretty sure it would be an education on how to very politely insinuate that someone has their head jammed up their posterior.

    1. UKDancer*

      Can confirm my union would definitely have that reaction and would kick off. Mind I think HR would probably react similarly because they know most people would be uncomfortable with it.

      My company has ceilings on how much you are allowed to spend on accommodation so I spend a lot of time staying at Premier Inns (which is fine with me because they’re comfortable and clean). But you always get your own room.

  66. Corgi Doc*

    The list of people I’d willingly share a bed with is just my husband, my mother and my sister. When I have kids someday, I’m sure they’ll be added to the list but beyond that, no way.

    1. HonorBox*

      I’d willingly share with my wife, my brother and my college roommate. In extraordinary circumstances, I’d share with some others but those circumstances better be extraordinary.

  67. Kermit's Bookkeepers*

    Even aside from the considerations of professional boundaries, I am one of those people who desperately needs time to be alone during a work function like this. If I have to travel for a conference, I feel especially “on” with my colleagues the whole time; being unable to power down at the end of the day and just be alone with my thoughts would be torturous.

  68. Mad, mad Me*

    I’m sure they’re assuming one colleague will use the pull-out couch; good God, it would have to be the size of a postage stamp before I’d opt for sharing a bed. Which, while still outlandish, is slightly less ridiculous.

  69. nonprofit director*

    Didn’t read all the comments, but I think your position to push back on this is stronger as a new employee. If you don’t now, they will assume you are okay with it and it will be harder in the future.

  70. Lizy*

    Nopity nope nope.

    Pre-COVID, I had just started a job and was told we’d be attending a conference and to let HR know if you preferred to share a room with a particular person, otherwise your roommate would be assigned randomly. Oh and if you want your own room, you can pay half of the room fee. I was noping all out of that, and going to use my pregnancy as an excuse (if I needed one), but COVID stepped in instead.

    They didn’t have a conference the rest of the time I was there (COVID) but I’ve always wondered if they started back up and if they “saw the light” or were still forcing people to bunk together…

  71. Kristin*

    I consider myself an extrovert and love being around people but yeesh, I am not sharing a ROOM with anyone on a work trip, let alone a BED. It is a completely unreasonable ask. Even us people-people need a little me time!

  72. Audogs*

    There are so many situations that we read about here that my response would simply be the world’s shortest sentence stated politely and firmly: “No”

  73. CSRoadWarrior*

    Share a BED with a coworker? I wouldn’t feel comfortable even sharing a room. Twice my company had a business trip last year, and both times we had our own rooms. And this the company’s original arrangement, not at the request of employees.

    But to share a bed with someone you work with? Hell no. Not even close to okay.

  74. In grid*

    Only shared a bed once at a big conference, when a coworker (two levels above me but not in my reporting line – both women in our 30s) volunteered to share with me to save on hotel costs and I didn’t have the standing to veto it. She wore fancy lingerie as sleepwear. It was awkward.

    At my current company (central Europe, relatively big corporation) it’s standard practice to share rooms for any 1-2 night stays. Best case separate areas in a suite, but sometimes it means sleeping right next to someone you barely know. Last time we had a big event with a whole hotel booked out, the HR intern was tasked with assigning rooms – taking into account factors like gender, department, age, friend groups.. but also office relationships and/or affairs(!).

  75. Always Bring Pickles to a Potluck*

    When I was just out of colleagues I had coworkers I was quite good friends with that I went on vacation with and would sometimes share beds with for our budgets’ sakes. When we traveled for work we still got our own beds. (We were in education, so room sharing was the norm. Bed sharing was not, unless you were married. (And possibly in a romantic relationship; everyone couple I worked with was married, so I’m not sure about that.))

  76. Angstrom*

    Heck, in college the travelling sports teams would be stacked up like cordwood in as few rooms as possible. Beds, couches, floor, whatever. But that was then, and we were young.
    Now? Oh hell no.

  77. Ann Nonymous*

    I’m confused – the poster is also upset that room sharing is based on gender? That it’s offensive that women are paired with other women and men with other men?

    1. Hlao-roo*

      The letter writer didn’t say that sharing rooms based on gender is offensive, but that it’s “problematic as a whole.”

      In my view, pairing women with women and men with men generally works well (if rooms must be shared), but there are cases where it can go wrong:

      * There could be a man and a woman who are close and comfortable with each other and would rather room together than with coworkers of the same gender who they aren’t as close to.

      * There could be a trans person who is not out and is uncomfortable rooming with a person of a different gender (ex. a trans man who isn’t out and is assigned to room with a cis woman).

      * There could be a non-binary person who is out and is actively misgendered by being told “oh, you were assigned male at birth so you’ll be rooming with a man.”

      * An organization may decide that they only get their money’s worth if a room is shared, so won’t send the only man/woman/non-binary person on a trip because the org doesn’t want to spend $X on a hotel room for just one person.

      And that doesn’t get into other, non-gender-related problems that can make sharing a room an unpleasant experience even if you are sharing with a person of the same gender. For some examples, not wanting to share a room with someone who has a CPAP because the machine is loud. Or not wanting to share a room because you use a CPAP and are embarrassed and don’t want coworkers to know. Those concerns aren’t mitigated simply because both people in the hotel room happen to be women or both happen to be men. Two people being the same gender isn’t enough to know or to assume that they will be compatible roommates.

    2. Dinwar*

      Being told “You’re not worthy of consideration, not even of really crappy consideration” is insulting, at least to the homosexual people I’ve known. (I’ve had a few discussions with them on that topic.)

      The idea that it’s okay to book one room for multiple people provided they are the same gender/sex stems from the idea that OF COURSE the only reason to worry about sexual misconduct is between heterosexual couples, because that’s obviously the only type that exist. Which is just insulting to literally everyone. It’s infantilizing towards heterosexuals (implying that they can’t keep their pants on) and is an attempt to erase homosexuals and bisexuals (by simply ignoring the possibility of their existence).

      (Sorry if any of that sounds crude; it’s a crude mentality and it’s not easy to describe it without being crass.)

  78. Llama Identity Thief*

    Commiseration, LW. If I had to share a bed for work, the unfortunate coworker sleeping with me would probably end up so beat up by my level of tossing and turning that it’d become a legal issue for the company. And that’s from a completely benign thing that has nothing to do with the whole “privacy and security” thing this flies completely in the face of, nothing to do with the obvious mental/emotional reasons to share beds, even if physical safety could somehow be guaranteed.

  79. Posilutely*

    My workplace sent two female staff on a thing a while ago and were planning for them to share a room. One of them spoke up and asked whether she would still be expected to share if the colleague going with them was male. Obviously the answer was no, so the bosses realised this argument was valid and each person got their own room from then on.

  80. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

    Hell NOOOO!
    A gross infringment of personal space & dignity, as well as a complete disregard for the danger of abuse.

    I’ve never heard of even sharing suites before, let alone beds – *shudder* – and I worked for over 35 years in various European countries. As an undergrad and then postgrad in the UK we often had communal bathrooms and kitchens, but everyone had at least their own lockable bedroom. Once in actual paid jobs I didn’t have to share anything.

    I’ve never worked for a charity, so is it just a penny-pinching / perpetually-broke charity custom ? Surely no commercial business or state organisation would ever do this? Nowhere with unions?

  81. Gilgongo*

    I would never ever agree to share a ROOM, never mind a bed, with a co-worker. I can’t even imagine!

  82. Just Thinkin' Here*

    No. Just no. I am not sharing a room, let alone a bed. If they can’t afford a hotel room for everyone then either increase the budget for the meeting or decrease the attendee list. I’m not vacationing with my coworkers, I’m working. The employer needs to provide safe, appropriate lodging for each employee.

  83. BeachBumWannaBe*

    I work at a University and often book travel for both faculty and students going to conferences. Faculty get their own rooms (even though I had to insist on one trip that two grown male faculty should NOT share a room) but the students are expected to share a room if we are paying for their travel (but two beds of course!). One student looked me in the eye and said “that’s not a good idea – I get night terrors regularly!”. I can’t vouch that he does or does not, but it was a very effective argument and of course he got his own room. I made a mental note that if, God forbid, this is ever brought up that I would have to share a room … I will be using that line.

    1. Megan*

      I used to coach a college sports team and had a head coach who was a crazy narcissist out to get me. Usually I had my own room as the only female staff member (sometimes shared with an athletic trainer), but one time he tried to make me share with a student I coached, so another student could have her own room. Thankfully he asked the student first (he would not have listened to me) and she indicated she’d much prefer to share with other students even if that meant sharing beds or using the sofa sleeper. I was very relieved when he changed it so I had my own room. I liked that student just fine, but it just seemed very awkward and boundary crossing to share with her.

    1. Hlao-roo*

      There is! It’s a bit of a strange work-around, but it’s spelled out in the commenting rules (link to commenting rules is above the box you type your comments in).

      If you include a link in a comment, it will go to moderation, so the process is:
      – reply to the comment you want to report
      – put a link in your comment
      – type a short note (ex. “can you look at this comment? I think it breaks commenting rule #1”)

  84. Garblesnark*

    If I am going to share a room, who I’m willing to share with varies by much more than gender.

    I have the same gender as the coworker who refuses to speak to me, acknowledge my existence, or respond to my emails unless someone else is present or her manager is copied. There is no reality where I’d be sharing a room with her. The conference might become an unplanned murder mystery dinner party.

    One of my favorite coworkers wakes up at 4am every day, whereas I will be sleeping until three minutes before my first conference session. Not a viable roommate match. Same gender, though.

  85. can relate*

    Can someone list off the supposed industries where sharing rooms is super normal? Is is all just education/non-profit related?

    1. Hlao-roo*

      There are two threads further up on the page with lists of industries where sharing rooms is normal/common, started by commenters “Confused of UK” and “OneAngryAvacado”

      The main ones I’ve seen mentioned in those threads are:
      – non-profits
      – academia
      – librarians
      – construction
      – municipal government

  86. CatMintCat*

    On school camp last year (I’m a teacher) the Principal deliberately arranged for me to share a bed with the other supervising teacher. His reasoning? “She’s your daughter, it’s fine”. She is my daughter, but I haven’t shared a bed with her since she was three. She kicked. At 36, she still kicks. We made it very clear on return that this was not an acceptable money saving exercise.

  87. Filicophyta*

    The conferences and trainings I’ve been on were mostly either self-paid or paid by NGOs. The NGO ones always had sharing rooms but never beds. However at least once we spent a weekend at a retreat centre / summer camp and were in bunk beds, about six to a room! (We knew this before applying to attend.)

  88. Maybesocks*

    As a female high school teacher, I had to share a room with several students on an overnight field trip! I didn’t find out until we got to the motel. The other two teachers, male, had organized the trip and shared a room just the two of them. I was not pleased! I was too young to realize that I could pay for my own room, also too poor.

  89. Sciencer*

    I have on one occasion shared a king-sized bed with a coworker. I was a post-doc and my coworker was a middle-aged research professor. I was fresh out of grad school, when I had shared beds frequently with other grad students on school trips, so I didn’t blink an eye at this in the planning… but it was awkward. She snored; I snored. We had different preferences for how much to chit-chat after the long day and what a reasonable bedtime looked like. I liked to read myself to sleep with a book light, but this was much more awkward when sharing an actual bed vs. just a room. In general as a side-sleeper, I felt weird sleeping with my face toward her. I was also paranoid about kicking her in my sleep.

    Oh, and we were in an AirBnB in which the hostess had decorated this particular room in a very sexual way, complete with boudoir photos of herself. And it had one of those bidet attachments that raises the toilet seat for you and makes music when you walk by.

    In retrospect, kinda hilarious. Kinda horrifying. Very much a moment of “oh, I’m not cool with this kind of setup anymore.”

    1. Megan*

      OMG laughing out loud at the description of the room…like how incredibly awkward…just making an already kinda awkward arrangement much worse w/ the sexual decorations. What an odd choice of accommodations given you can usually see Air BnB pics before you book.

  90. Have you had enough water today?*

    I snore. I would feel sorry for anyone who had to share a room with me let alone a bed. This also feels like the company is opening themselves up to potential legal trouble if there is an incident.

  91. matt r*

    nope. don’t share a ROOM, let alone a bed.

    a company that is willing to fly 45 people off-site but won’t spring for 45 hotel rooms shouldn’t be having an offsite. they probably shouldn’t exist, or won’t, soon.

  92. X*

    Oof. I had to share a bed with the ED of my nonprofit at a conference when they reserved one room for three people and the hotel didn’t provide a cot. Awkward and invasive for an exhausted introvert. Notably, the male coworkers managed to find enough beds. Nonprofit budgets are wacko.


    Sharing a bed w/ another woman is no different than sharing w/ a man.
    end of story.

    Travelling w/ my close friends is different.

  94. Me1980*

    I literally do not sleep with my husband! Why? Because I need very particular arrangements to sleep, and having another human in bed with me just doesn’t work.

    There is absolutely no way I would share a bed with a colleague!

  95. Jopestus*

    Yeah… Even in the army the bedrolls are private. They might be clumped next to each other with virtually no space in between in a tent where your head freezes and feet boil, but the beds are still private!

    And militaries are the place where all privacy goes to die.

  96. Nancy*

    No one is expecting you to share a bed. They are expecting one of you to take the sofa bed, since those rooms are advertised as for 2-3 people.. That is not ideal, but when you discuss it you should discuss it in the context that it doesn’t work to have some employees in a sofa bed.

    1. HonorBox*

      Agreed. The sofa bed may not be ideal for a number of reasons, but approaching this as “we’re having to share a bed” is going to prompt a much different response than “we shouldn’t have to share a room” or “not everyone can sleep comfortably on the sofa bed.” And approaching it the right way will help make the case.

      1. Megan*

        I totally agree. If they just say we’re expected to share beds, co will point out no you’re not there’s a sofa bed too.

  97. K*

    OP should be aware that if they and their coworkers insist on not sharing beds, which is reasonable, that the likely outcome won’t be that the next trip is the same but they all get their own hotel room at a similar quality hotel they staid in this time. Either only half the people will get to go, they’ll stay in a far cheaper hotel, or the trip will be canceled all together. The organization is unlikely to be able to come up with thousands of extra dollars for hotel rooms.

    1. Megan*

      I totally agree. I was in an industry where sharing was absolutely expected and you’d look very out of sync with the culture to demand a single room without a very good reason. We just simply did not have the money to go on trips and not share rooms. Unless the co is just stingy, it’s unlikely they can do single rooms next year without cutting elsewhere.

  98. trebond98*

    The weirdest thing about this is that it assumes everyone sleeps the same way–fully clothed, quietly, at the same time, without the tv, etc. This is just not true. I didn’t even know about the sharing bedding thing I read the comments.

  99. Chirpy*

    As someone in an industry where we’re expected to share rooms when traveling, even retail doesn’t expect us to share beds! Yikes!

  100. Megan*

    Sharing rooms on trips is so incredibly normal and expected in the industries I’ve worked in that it always seems odd to read letters like this and learn how outrageous this sounds to people in other industries. I personally don’t like sharing a bed with coworkers and would advise against companies forcing this on people, but I’ve done it several times before and it really wasn’t a big deal. I’ve also been expected to have someone sleep on the sofa bed before on work trips which also just wasn’t a big deal. In some industries you’d look very high maintenance if you requested your own room without a very specific reason like a medical need or something. But I would think in business fields sharing rooms would be less common.

  101. Trixie*

    Relax people. I’m sure the intent is someone would use the pull out couch. Not ideal, but I wouldn’t assume they want coworkers to share a bed. I think everyone went off the rails in order to be outraged here.

    1. Zee*

      I agree. I’m bewildered by the fact that the overwhelming majority of commenters assumed that 2 people in a room with 2 beds would be expected to both sleep in 1 bed.

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