Should traveling employees share hotel rooms?
I'm a traveling corporate trainer. Typically clients will decide on a central location for training and have their employees fly or drive to meet me there for a training workshop that lasts 3-5 days. On a recent trip with about 20 attendees the casual conversation shifted to hotel accommodations on the second day. It became obvious that the attendees were sharing hotel rooms. The corporate director of their division walked in and overheard part of the conversation and was aghast. She asked if they were sharing rooms and they all answered that they were. She announced that company policy did not require the sharing of rooms for any traveling employees and that she would get to the bottom of things immediately. She walked out and returned about 20 minutes later to say that everyone would have a private room for the rest of the workshop. In a sidebar conversation she told me that it was all the fault of the regional vice president who thought the travel expenses were coming out of her budget instead of the corporate budget.
My current employer does not require those of us who travel to share hotel rooms. We typically send 2-4 people to each training workshop, typically one person to be the lead trainer and the other(s) to facilitate as needed. A previous employer did require the sharing of rooms, even with employees of the opposite sex. I worked for that employer for 5 years and always dreaded going on the road and sharing a room.
I always felt that sharing might be acceptable for an overnight trip, but for one lasting several days or several weeks a private room is in order. I never felt like I could truly relax with someone else in the room, whether that person was male or female, unless the person was already a friend. There are those moments when you want to have a personal conversation with a spouse, or you want to watch what you want to watch on the tv, or you just want to go to the restroom without being concerned about what the other person might hear or smell. The possibility of sexual harassment, even between coworkers of the same sex, cannot be overlooked. I just think that traveling employees should not have to share a hotel room.
What do you think?