How to share a hotel room with a coworker

How to share a hotel room with a coworker #uncomfortable

You may have long shared a cubicle, a break room, and even a handful of office-gossip-fueled lunches with a coworker. But sharing a hotel room? That’s a whole different kind of togetherness. Yet business trip budgets and logistics can make bunking up with a coworker a reality, even if it’s not a totally welcome one. What if they talk in their sleep? What if you talk in your sleep?

Here’s how to handle rooming with a colleague without ruining the good thing you already have going on in the office — and (who knows!) maybe even improving upon it.

How to share a hotel room on a business trip
Source: Getty Images

Set expectations

A proactive approach helps clear the awkwardness from the air right away. To do this, send your coworker a friendly email in advance, letting them know your goal is to make things as comfortable as possible for both of you — even though the situation is inherently a little uncomfortable. A simple, “Hi there, I know in an ideal world we’d each have our own executive suite, but alas, I promise not to snore,” can break the ice.

Set an approachable tone by using office-appropriate humor and asking if there’s anything you can do to make things comfortable for them (besides bowing out at the last minute) — doing so will help you band together to avoid any real-life nightmares.

Respect boundaries

Business casual attire is difficult to maintain between the shower and the sheets. But rather than let all the general rules of office engagement fly out the window just because you’re in a new environment, respect your coworker’s boundaries by erring on the side of caution.

You’re going to need to change your clothes, for example, but try opting for the bathroom rather than introducing your colleague to your undies, and give your roomie time and space to do the same. Consider packing modest pajamas and a robe if you have one — or use the hotel’s.

Sharing a Hotel Room with a co-worker
Source: Getty Images

Get your timing right

You can’t always tell who’s a night owl and who’s an early bird at the office, so it’s good to work out your preferred schedules before one of you keeps the TV blaring half the night. Try to compromise on wake-up and lights-out schedules, as well as shower times.

Remember, you’re likely both juggling meeting schedules, so aim to respect those demands as well. If one of you has an early-morning or late-night call with an overseas team, for example, that might be a good time for the other to hit the hotel gym, do some work in the lobby or explore the hotel’s neighborhood for breakfast or a drink.

Prep for rest

Above all else, prepare for sleep interruptions — yours and your roommate’s. You might be totally oblivious to your own snoring/sleepwalking/mumbling, so consider being a good sport and bringing two pairs of earplugs: one for you and one for your coworker.

Also, it’s always nice to be extra courteous when using personal gadgetry at night. Nighttime is definitely earbud time, whether you’re podcasting, playing games (especially when playing games!), or even running white noise to sleep.

If it’s not working, don’t force it

There are all sorts of legitimate reasons rooming with a coworker just might not work for one or both of you — sleep disorders, introversion or misaligned schedules are just a few. If you truly prefer not to room together, you can join forces to negotiate your way into separate rooms.

Since your company’s reasoning is likely financial, you can offer to stay in a cost-friendly hotel with free breakfast, or explain that you’re willing to accept only half of your usual per diem and trade in the taxi or Lyft for public transport or a free hotel shuttle. If the destination is close enough to where you live, you could offer to skip the plane altogether and carpool to the hotel.

Remember, when this trip is over, you have to go back to seeing these people in the office every day. Like any healthy relationship, the smartest approach to surviving a night away with a coworker is good communication — and good manners don’t hurt either.

Written by Amy Lynch

Want to learn more about sleep and wellness? Check out: