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The company that I work for is a small to medium side company. When required to travel (10% - 15% annually) we are getting fully compensated for the food expenses (being reasonable as an average) and for all the the miscellaneous travel expenses.

Lately, because of the crisis in the company and them trying to reduce the costs, the company books Airbnb housing (not a hotel) and forces several colleagues to live together, many times even having them to share a bathroom together.

Is this an acceptable business practice for business traveling in Europe? Does this require an at least courtesy of asking an employee if he feels comfortable doing that, as this requires a comfort level with another employee that might exist or might not?

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    Hello Ge, not an answer so I'm adding a comment: looking at your question history it seems like the company has a history of cutting corners, so this kind of behaviour is not surprising. Whether bunking together colleagues is acceptable or not is a moot point. My suggestion is to look for another job, even outside Greece where you seem to be based. – rath Sep 29 '18 at 10:33
  • Comment: don't you share toilets at office normally? – usr-local-ΕΨΗΕΛΩΝ Sep 29 '18 at 12:59
  • @usr-local-ΕΨΗΕΛΩΝ We share. The point I try to make, is the comfort level. When having a roommate that you have not been working a long time together, you should be careful with your behavior at the apartment shared. It is like work after work hours except if your roommate has become your buddy. – Ge Peace Sep 29 '18 at 13:15
  • @JoeStrazzere Local labor law requires employer to take care financially of the lodging (either by paying directly or by giving a standard compensation as a percentage of his monthly salary). The details would be a question to a labor law attorney. – Ge Peace Sep 29 '18 at 13:28
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    How is that "opinion-based"? A question whether something is acceptable can mean two things: 1) "Would you accept..." or 2) "To what extent is the practice generally accepted". In case 2) it's a question about the empirical reality. And it does make sense to ask about it. I was made to share a room with a coworker on one trip and I also wondered whether other companies do it like this too. – BigMadAndy Sep 30 '18 at 8:44
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No forcing this on you is not acceptable. This is a business trip and not some school trip.

If your company wants to save money on accommodation they should tell you a maximum amount they are willing to pay per person and let you take care of it. Then you can share housing with colleagues, or get a hostel, or a hotel (and possibly pay the difference out of your own pocket).

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    This was done with the case of my sister’s husband working in Germany. He even stayed to a camping place to save the company’s money for lodging to his pocket. In my company, the written policy is hotels (type of Holiday Inn...) with a specific maximum daily amount spent (100 - 110 EUR, I do not recall exactly). Of course, for a company to use the Airbnb option as a better financial option, they need to have several employees (2 or more) stay together. If one person was to choose a hotel or a separate Airbnb and the rest a common Airbnb, that would not be advantageous for them. – Ge Peace Sep 29 '18 at 11:06
  • Although we still have written procedure for traveling, those Airbnb situations are unofficial directions to follow at this current moment, and have not been depicted at the procedure. – Ge Peace Sep 29 '18 at 11:11
  • Just to add the sharing of the same housing (hotels block or Aibnb housing) is dictated by the fact that we are supposed to share a car as well to limit the company's expenditure – Ge Peace Sep 29 '18 at 11:25
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    @GePeace You and your colleagues should be looking for a new job – Neuromancer Sep 29 '18 at 12:06
  • This is turning into a rant. You seem to have lots of problems with your company. – paparazzo Sep 29 '18 at 14:29
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As soon as you are not required to share the room with people of different gender (or when in general you or them have gender conflict), there is nothing illegal or particularly unacceptable in European culture.

Of course everyone likes (I liked too) to be hosted in a 4* hotel room alone with beverages paid, we must be realistic. We don't all work for multinationals with heavy hooks to Hilton and Marriott, or for superfunded startups. Sometimes we may be asked to share the room.

The standard practice is to separate people by gender. I have traveled multiple times, sometimes sharing the room with a person of my gender and the consequent hassle of asking "who's going to shower first?", sometimes being the only occupant. If your company starts to mix people of different genders, they must make sure this is allowed by labor law, but it's culturally hard to accept.

Disclaimer: in an era where gender assumes a wider concept, I fully understand that simply separating men by women is is inadequate. But full discussion is off topic.

I don't see Airbnb relevant for the scope of the question, they may choose apartments rather than hotels to cut the costs. In a hotel, the same sharing policy may apply as soon as either hotel does not have single rooms or...... single rooms cost too much.

  • It is not just gender separation in an apartment. A lot of factors needs to be taken into account that would make HR being busy. An example: I have been a roommate with an old guy who drinks a lot and his behavior became weird after a point. It is his right to drink as far he does not have a hangover the next day morning. Of course I was annoyed by him losing control after drinking and me not being able to stay in the living room. – Ge Peace Sep 29 '18 at 13:18
  • You mentioned sharing room not apartment. This is extreme to my company as well..... – Ge Peace Sep 29 '18 at 13:51
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    @GePeace you are correct. Too many factors and HR will surely become crazy. At some point they will be less negotiative. Anyway from my knowledge of EU culture, gender is the most important aspect also because it is somehow regulated. You can always complain about a single individual and they could listen to you – usr-local-ΕΨΗΕΛΩΝ Sep 29 '18 at 22:34
  • If they just require to share apartment and everyone is in a single room you are luckier than me. I slept with a snoring coworker and despite plugs I could not sleep. The day after I abused coffee. – usr-local-ΕΨΗΕΛΩΝ Sep 29 '18 at 22:38
  • I understand the point European culture. We all grew up at summer camps with other children, some went to the army staying at the same camp with dudes. – Ge Peace Sep 30 '18 at 13:28

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