Are your employees looking forward to your office holiday party? For many small businesses, the company party is a great way to end the year and something their employees look forward to. What makes a successful party? Some food, a nice venue, and the opportunity to socialize with friends and coworkers usually make for a good time.

However, this isn’t always the best option for a holiday party. In a survey for OfficeTeam, more than 400 office workers were polled on their holiday-themed party preferences. While 27 percent wanted an off-site party to wrap up the year, 25 percent would prefer an on-site event or luncheon, while 24 percent would rather have a charitable activity instead.

“Many employees look forward to the office holiday party because it offers a chance to unwind with colleagues,” said Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. “These celebrations can also be the perfect opportunity to recognize people for their hard work throughout the year.”

A holiday party isn’t exempt from discontent, though. The survey found that 27 percent of office workers dislike the inconvenient scheduling of the event, while 21 percent found the parties boring and 16 percent hated the peer pressure to attend. Above all else, employers must include their workers when planning their next holiday party.

Employees might shun the holiday staples

In some cases, an over-the-top holiday-themed party might not be the right fit for your business. A separate poll, conducted by party website The Salonniere, found that some of the holiday staples of an event – like eggnog or fruitcake – are not enjoyed by too many people.

For example, 80 percent of the people polled, more than 1,100 in total, disliked fruitcake. Another 51 percent didn’t want to drink eggnog and 62 percent wanted to stay in on New Year’s Eve. In addition, 28 percent confessed to drinking too much at their holiday parties.

The varied tastes of employees – even if only a handful attend your holiday party – can make it difficult to plan ahead. OfficeTeam offered several tips to keep your next event on track, including:

1. Make sure “party time” works for everyone on the team
If you have people who commute or have small children, a holiday luncheon might work better than planning something later in the evening. You might also consider volunteering somewhere if your employees are more civic minded. The key is to find out what your employees are most excited about.

2. Pay attention to budget

Party costs can spiral out of control. As you plan, make sure you have the budget for what you’re planning. It’s quite possible to have an enjoyable experience without spending too much money.

3. Talk to your team

As soon as you start planning, get other people involved. You don’t have to include the holiday clichés. Instead, ask around for creative ideas and themes so your party will be fun for everyone.

Planning a successful holiday party can be the icing on the cake for a successful year and maybe even a great way to kick of 2015. Happy holidays.

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