1 in 2 employees is uncomfortable/somewhat uncomfortable asking their managers for time off during the holidays, according to a new study from West Monroe Partners.

The study goes on to say that 51% say they feel either unmotivated or overwhelmed (26%) after returning to work, which makes sense – if you’re on edge about asking for PTO, your “time off” isn’t going to feel very relaxing.

Mike Hughes, a managing director with West Monroe and author of the study, says organizations should examine what they can do to help employees….like giving them the ability to work remotely.

In fact, the ability to work remotely came as a top requirement for employees to be more productive during the holiday season, and 91% said they feel productive when working remotely.

As businesses enter the holiday season, it’s important for leaders to consider how they can best position their business for success in the New Year with a focus on employee productivity and engagement. The following recommendations are based on survey data and experience as workforce consultants in a tight job market:

Close the office on days beyond federal holidays, when feasible: Companies that do not close extra days during the holiday season may look at the cost of this action and decide it’s too steep – but consider the return on investment. Employees report increased satisfaction and productivity leading into the time they’re most likely to search for other jobs. And in a tight job market, that ROI is very real. If it’s not possible for your business to close on additional days during the season, then it’s even more important to offer workers alternative ways of disconnecting and recharging, such as greater scheduling flexibility.

Accommodate more remote working: With the holiday season now in full force, leaders should strike a balance between business goals and accommodating employee preferences, especially more remote working. The impact on productivity could be immense: Imagine an employee who would otherwise request PTO to visit longer with family out of town, but through remote working can accomplish two days’ worth of work while still getting to enjoy family time in the evening.

 Consider flexible scheduling — and recognition: During the holidays, 38 percent of employees want fewer in-office distractions so they don’t feel they have to put in overtime to get their work done. Others want to come in and leave early to have more holiday family time. For these workers, flexible scheduling options during the holidays can significantly drive productivity and morale.