So a friend of mine recently went on a weeklong business trip with some of her colleagues. She works for a small company – and in the spirit of small companies everywhere, her boss was eager to cut costs wherever possible. And wouldn’t you know it, but most hotel rooms have two beds in them!
Which is how my friend ended up sharing a hotel room with a coworker (who happened to be one of her direct employees) so that her boss could save on business travel costs.
I never thought I’d write an article on this. I have envisioned many an unusual scenario, and I have tried mightily to help people tackle the various and sundry problems that are forever plaguing the working world. But it never occurred to me to help people figure out what to do when they’re locked in a hotel room with a chronic snorer or really, really have to poop but aren’t certain if doing so will somehow harm their career.
But here we are, and so I soldier on. If you’re ever trapped in a hotel room with a colleague because your boss simultaneously thinks it’ll be a fun bonding moment and obviously has no fear whatsoever of a harassment suit, here’s how to make the best of it and what to tell your boss if you don’t want to do it ever again.
Acknowledge the Awkwardness – I guarantee your roommate is just as uncomfortable as you are. Even something as simple as, “I guess I should have packed my footie pajamas” will alleviate some of the tension and let both of you relax as much as will be possible.
Sleep Fully Clothed – Just in case, you know, you were wondering about that.
Leave The Room So Your Roommate Can Shower and Change – This should be a simple agreement. One of you can go downstairs and get breakfast or make phone calls or read the newspaper or steal leftover room service from other rooms while the other one showers, dresses, and gets ready. Just make sure that if you’re the second person to get ready, you both agree on a definite timeframe so that you don’t come back when your roommate is still in the towel turban.
Tell Your Boss You Don’t Like Sleeping With Your Employees – And I recommend that exact phrase, by the way. “Hey boss, I would prefer not to sleep with my employees.” As long as your boss has a decent sense of humor, that will break the ice before you have one of those frank professional conversations. According to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), it’s not illegal for your boss to have you share a room, but SHRM recommends against room sharing since it can cause “employee relation issues”. Talk to your boss about your legitimate concerns – for example, “after spending the whole day at a trade show with Becky, just the idea of sharing a room with her makes my eye twitch”. At worst it will make sure your (well-intentioned yet clueless) boss is made aware of the issue, and at best it will get you your own room the next time you travel.
And there you go! Tune in next time when I try to help you survive when your boss asks you to care for his pet tiger, or invites herself to your anniversary dinner with your spouses, or whatever weird issue it’ll be. Because for some reason I feel like we’re only scratching the surface of how unusual the working world can be. We’re in for some fun times!
Have you ever had to share a room on a business trip? Let’s have story time in the comments!
My employer booked several of us female administrators at a conference in shared sleeping accommodations, however, the males were given separate rooms. Its bad enough that I share an office with another person who eats all day long at her desk, snorts when laughing, loud on the phone, and FARTS in our room. He then expected us to sleep in the same room for 4 nights, and attend conferences all day long together. Yikes, I paid for my own room!!!
You painted a pretty hilarious picture for me; however, I’m sure it wasn’t funny for you! Thanks for the laugh and thanks for sharing!
I am currently stuck in a hotel for two months with another gentleman on business/training. He is 20 years older than I and we met at the airport upon arriving in a foreign country. He snores when he naps for two minutes and at night it is so loud that I cant sleep even with ear plugs or headphones on. There are other things but this is just the end of the second week.
I have been required to room with co-workers. On my last trip my co-worker snored all night long….WORSE it was that time of the month for her and there was “evidence” on the toilet seat more than once after she used the restroom. Prior to that, I had a male co-worker book a suite for us. He felt that was enough professional space. When I broached the subject with my husband, well… he hasn’t forgiven me for even asking if he would be ok with it. So, I pushed back on that one. I was just instructed to share rooms again today – I pushed back and now feel like a I am the one who is inappropriate. It is an extremely awkward situation. I feel that this requirement should have been disclosed during the interviewing process.
Wow, you have not had an easy go at business travel! Thanks for sharing your story and I hope you share this article with whoever books travel for your company!
In the 80’s I slept in a squad bay with 80 other Marines and shared tight quarters elsewhere during my service. However, times have changed. Two years ago I began working for a company that has its own travel department. Last year they booked me in a hotel room in a less than desirable area of town. At 1:00 A.M. (I had to be up at 5:00 A.M.) I heard loud knocks with yelling to open the door. Thinking someone had the wrong room number I ignored the person until he yelled my name, stated he worked for my company, and had been booked in the same room. After showing me ID through the window and answering a few questions only an employee would know I let him in – not to mention it was cold and raining. He apologized and explained he, too, tried to get a private room. I had never met this man before and felt very uncomfortable with him in my room. He immediately turned the TV on music videos explaining he was a night person. From pure exhaustion I fell asleep only to be wakened around 3:00 AM. He had reset my alarm and kept me awake while he showered before leaving. Later that morning I called and complained I was not forewarned about double booking and stated my safety concern. I got nowhere. Since then if I see a double bed has been reserved for my trip I do everything in my power to have it changed to a single bed. I have since stopped answering the door – regardless who they say they are – and when I find another employee in my room I bite the cost and pay for a private room. Yeah, I’m seeking other employment!
Wow Tony! That story is hilarious, but I’m sorry the laughs had had to come at your expense. You answered my main question at the end there and I hope the search goes quickly. Thanks for sharing!
I would advise the travel aranger that I’ve had surgery to my nose years ago due to an accident, and snore mightily and advise the person i’m due to share with the same thing.
That might work!
I am the one who snores, and because of that I can’t get a wink of sleep. I worry about the other person not being able to sleep because of me, and I am awake all night, usually until just before dawn, when exhaustion sets in. Then I finally fall asleep, and the other person wakes me and complains that I kept them up all night snoring. I also have to pee several times a night. Should I flush or not?