It's common practice for businesses large and small to throw a holiday party for their employees. Sometimes, those parties are modest get-togethers that involve putting sandwich platters and drinks in an office conference room and letting employees have at them for an hour or two. In other cases, those parties can be far more extravagant, running the gamut from multi-hour banquet hall affairs to multi-course meals at fine dining establishments.

But while it's probably too late to switch any plans you have for this year's company holiday party, here's a good reason to change your tune for the upcoming year: In a new survey by Office Depot, 35% of employees say they wish their companies would take the money they typically spend on holiday parties and instead use it for more important purposes. As such, you may want to rethink next year's budget -- and perhaps allocate at least some of those funds to other things.

Men and women clinking champagne glasses


A better use for your money?

It's generous to want to treat your employees to an evening of cocktails and good food to thank them for all of their hard work. But there may be a much better way to do that. Among those surveyed by Office Depot who wish their employers would spend their party funds elsewhere, around 75% think that money should be used for individual year-end bonuses instead. Given the number of Americans who are deep in debt or lack personal savings, it's understandable that many would prefer an extra hundred dollars at the end of the year to a single fancy meal.

Aside from year-end bonuses, employees would like to see their companies spend money on extra paid time off in their benefits packages, subsidized meals, and supplies and equipment over a holiday party. And those are important alternatives to consider, too.

Is it time to do away with your annual holiday party?

Though you don't necessarily need to scrap your yearly holiday party completely, it does pay to consider scaling back, especially if you tend to allocate a large amount of financial resources to that one event. Though it's nice to give your employees a fun night out, the reality is that many workers don't actually enjoy attending company parties. Not only is there pressure to socialize with colleagues they may not be fond of, but there's also the stress of making small talk with higher-ups and finding topics to chat about other than upcoming projects and deadlines. And remember, people's personal schedules tend to be super jam-packed during the holiday season, so giving up an additional weeknight, or, worse yet, weekend night, is something your workers may not appreciate.

If you're not sure how your employees feel about your annual holiday party, create an anonymous survey and ask them. And, ask what they'd rather see that money spent on -- because if you're going to allocate a chunk of your budget to thank your workers, you might as well use that money for something they'll really appreciate.