Naked yoga and other no nos when rooming with a coworker

Business travel can be a lot of fun or a real challenge. One aspect of business travel that can be nerve wracking is having to share a hotel room with a coworker. While you may know and even like your coworker on a business level, it’s rare to be personally close to your colleague, making the intimacy of a shared room somewhat awkward. Dressing, toileting, sleeping are all rather intimate aspects of our lives and most of us are not comfortable sharing those aspects with relative strangers.  Therefore, it’s important to be on your best behavior and mindful of your roommate’s comfort. Remember, this is still a business trip. What you might do with friends and family in your own home is probably not appropriate in a business setting.

Here are some dos and don’ts to heed when rooming with a coworker.

Pack some modest pajamas. Don’t walk around in the nude or perform naked yoga (yep, it’s a true story). Many people are uncomfortable seeing their coworker’s nude or almost nude body. It’s just too personal. Skip the sexy pjs or your birthday suit and bring something that doesn’t have your roommate averting their eyes or ogling you. The hotel is not a nudist colony.

Bring ear plugs. If your roommate happens to be a shake-the-roof-off-snorer, ear plugs will help drown out some of the noise. And, if you’re a person who snores loudly it is best to ask for a single room. If that’s not possible, try to sleep with your back to your roommate. It would also be gracious to bring ear plugs for your coworker.

Visit with friends elsewhere. If you want to socialize with friends or other coworkers do it in a common space, not your hotel room. Your roommate may want to rest or do some work or just get ready for the next function. That’s hard to do when people are hanging out in your space.

No hanky panky. Sure the room is free, but it doesn’t give you license to bring a girlfriend/boyfriend or spouse to your shared room and go at it. Share those intimate moments for when you’re home or have your own hotel room, not when you’re sharing it with a relative stranger.

Be tidy. Keep your clothes, toiletries and other items contained on your side of the room and bathroom. Pick up your towels – don’t leave them strewn on the floor or on furniture. And, don’t put things on your coworker’s bed including your rear end.

Don’t hog the bathroom. Be mindful of how much time you spend in the bathroom. Remember your roommate needs his or her time to get ready as well. It’s helpful to discuss who will use the bathroom first. If you’re an early riser, take advantage of that time to occupy the restroom for a reasonable amount of time, like 15 minutes, before allowing your roommate time to use it. If you need to style your hair or put makeup on, rather than hogging the bathroom do it in front of a mirror outside of the restroom so your coworker can shower and get ready.

Respect your coworker’s items. While your roommate’s items may be out in the open they are not there for your use. Don’t use her hairbrush, curling iron, razor, tablet, etc.

What tips would you add for sharing a room with a coworker? Have you ever experienced a particularly difficult coworker roommate situation?

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Arden Clise is founder and president of Clise Etiquette. Her love for business etiquette began in previous jobs when she was frequently asked for etiquette, public speaking and business attire advice by executives and board members. The passion for etiquette took hold and compelled Arden to start a consulting business to help others. Read more >>


  1. Andrea Ballard on May 3, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    A friend and I shared a room once. I still laugh over how we handled in-room phone calls. She stared at the phone as if it was a foreign object, while I jumped to answer it! Introverts vs. extroverts 🙂

  2. E Mounce on May 4, 2017 at 7:22 am

    What do you do with the roomie who decides that it is OK to reallocate hotel resources into their luggage at check out? What I did wasn’t graceful and was probably a huge party foul.

  3. Arden on May 4, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    Hi E Mounce,

    Oh boy, that’s a challenging one. Is it just the toiletries the roomie is taking? If so, it’s okay to take those. But if what they are taking is towels, linens or other hotel items you need to say something. You need to point out it’s stealing and that it will reflect poorly on the company. You can also state that if the company is charged for the items you will share that this roomie took them. Stay calm, cool and gracious when delivering the message.

  4. Arden on May 4, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    That’s funny Andrea. You learn all sorts of things about people when you share a room with them.

  5. carsrac on June 7, 2017 at 7:49 am

    I have been on several trainings with coworkers with hotel visits. And always everyone was in a single room. Maybe now I know why. And even then you can make mistakes like making too much noise.

  6. Arden on August 1, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    Agreed Carsrac,

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