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Welcome Wednesday: How much ramp time do you need after vacation?

Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Jan 04, 2023

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

Yesterday was my first day back at work after two weeks of vacation.  I don't normally take longer periods of time off because I find it can take a long time to get ramped back up on everything that has happened while I was gone.

However, I discovered that things weren't so bad this time as most of the company chose to take time off at the end of December and some people are still on vacation.

At previous companies it could take me the better part of a day to clear out my emails and get caught up on slack conversations and then a few days of meetings to discover all the work that people have been waiting for me to come back to complete.

Yesterday I was caught up on email in about a hour and I was all caught up and started working by mid-morning.

My question to all of you this week: "How long does it take you to get back into the groove after vacation?

I'd love to hear from all of you in the comments below.

Have a great rest of the week!


It's getting towards the end of my working day as I write this, and this is my second day back at work.  I won't have finished all my catchup before I finish for the day, but I'm down to a couple of emails that require me to think and a run through a list of questions with very short answers, so probably done before the second cup of tea tomorrow morning.  But I have not been concentrating on just recovery, this morning was all new work, not catch-up.  

Over the last few years, I think my average is probably half a day to tidy up per week off.

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Great topic!! It certainly can be stressful to come back after an extensive leave and need to catch up on so many topics. I find one way to proactively address this is to be sure to use the ooo auto reply and route people to others who can help them in your absence. It is a very good exercise bc it also will reveal topics that more education/socialization need to happen around- if no one else can handle in a person'a absence. 


That all being said. The week between Christmas and New Year's does tend to be a great week to take off bc so many other people are off too and demand from clients is low. 



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It only took me one day! This hasn't happened in years! My previous job was as an executive assistant, and I would dread taking time off because I knew I'd have a lot on my plate when I returned.

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It took half-a-day for me as all were in holidays and not much on my plate. 

Vikram P

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Oh, it depends :D eg. when was the time off, how long it took, what was planned for that time and who stayed on board. 

When everything runs smoothly, there is literally nothing to do (no action items for me) and to get back on track, I simply check emails to see how everything has been handled. Everything else I would find out during team sync or from a teammate. 

But if all other 'decision makers' are on holidays, then some topics can stack up, then depending on others actions it can take 1-2 days to catch up and another 1-2 days to get things moving in the right direction.

Once, after 3-4 weeks holiday, in one project every objective changed... then I pulled away, just accepting things as they were (my inner perfectionist was fighting a bit, but oh well - everyone should have an opportunity to learn)

During holidays, I don't check my email, so when I return, I like to start early (or even the evening before) to ensure I'll finish this review before someone interrupts me with something new (or something I've already found in email). 

Hope to catch up in one day after my upcoming 2 week vacations :) 

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Taranjeet Singh Community Leader Jan 04, 2023

Great topic, @Jimmy Seddon ! And thank you for the first "Welcome Wednesday " post of the year 2023!

Normally, it takes me about 1 day on average to catch up on all the emails and chats and get into the groove for starting new work after every vacation of 1 week or more.

But it also depends for me on what time of the year I am taking that vacation.

Mostly, during November and December, i.e. holiday season, a lot of the colleagues or team members are also on vacation, so it does not take more than a couple of hours for me to get all caught up with the emails and chats. This is also due to the fact that during the vacation, I keep on checking my emails and chats on my phone and get rid of the ones that are just for my information or a quick action for an issue resolution. (But I have to work to improve on this habit so that I can fully enjoy my vacation time with my family).

The start of 2023 was just the similar for me, and I got caught up with all thing waiting on me in a couple of hours.


Have a great Wednesday, and rest of the week, everyone!

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Andy Gladstone Community Leader Jan 05, 2023

@Jimmy Seddon great post to start the year off. Since so many people have already chimed in with answers that I relate to, I’ll take this chance to post a different approach. 
My wife and I always joke that the worst day to go back to work after vacation is the day you go back to work. While this differs based on the length of a vacation, I have found the sweet spot for this mantra is after one week - five business days. In the past two years I have always taken one extra day of PTO at the end of vacation which I use to unpack, check the mail and personal items and catch up on work emails. Catching up before people expect you to be back makes a big difference. It means that when I am back in the office that first day I can be available instead of in clean up mode.

Of course I write this while I am away on a non-business trip that only partially qualifies as a vacation, so I’ll see when I return how true I am staying to my own standards!

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Summer.Hogan Community Leader Jan 05, 2023

Nice answer @Andy Gladstone!

I loved this past week off because our entire company shuts down. It makes it so much easier to enjoy the time off without feeling like I'm missing out on anything. I didn't travel or anything last week, but was able to just slow down and enjoy the time off. When traveling, I definitely agree with @Andy Gladstone - it's SO helpful to have a day to get your life in order before returning to work. Thankfully, I work remote but still like to have a day to get "recombobulated." In case you haven't seen this word before - :) 

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Summer.Hogan Community Leader Jan 05, 2023

Great first topic of the year @Jimmy Seddon!

Sorry I am a day late! I was late because I was doing exactly what this question is asking; catching up! I was out for 11 days straight and my company did not shut down, but many people took the same time off I did for the holidays. It only took me about 4 hours to catch up, but I had a lot of tasks to do yesterday as I found out right before I started my time off that I have a new manager and and my team is being put into one of our SAFe Value Streams as part of our SAFe implementation, so there is a lot of work and coordination to come as we are changing the way we work. 

Typically when I take a week off, it takes me a day or so to catch up because everyone else is working while I am out. 

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This is my second day after a three-week vacation. I blame most of my lack of motivation and productivity on the jet lag that I brought back from South East Asia. I think if it wasn't for me being constantly tired since I returned back home, I wouldn't have this bad start into my daily work.

Timing of the vacation is definitely important. The holidays are great to take longer ones as, like you mentioned, most of the colleagues are out of office as well and you won't miss too much of the progress or changes made. We even had a freeze of change requests during the holidays, so that no one will come back to a completely different environment.

I think usually, with a vacation that lasts for three weeks, it takes me around a day or two to catch up on emails and Slack messages. This time it was a much quicker deal. I've quickly caught up to the most important things (an incident that I luckily missed and a couple happy new year wishes).

I'm also grateful to my stakeholders to be considerate enough to have no planned meetings for me this week. They even cancelled or moved them to another time on my first day yesterday. That helps a lot!

Now I'm just hoping to get back to my regular sleeping schedule and can actually use my recharged batteries for work! :D

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It took half a day for me to get normal, as all from all over the world are on holiday, and there is not much on my plate this time and more over we had a freez period till 9th jan,2023. so no major releases. 

Vikram P 

OMG, depends on how many E-mails I get at once. It usually take about a day if I do not have any interruptions.


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