I recently returned from an extended absence to several thousand emails. I'm now below the one hundred mark, but I'm fighting to get down to zero.
Here's one way to avoid the post-vacation E-Mail vacation tax:
I once read about of a guy who collected all of his spam-email in a folder. Just before he went on vacation, he dragged all of this spam back into his in-box. This caused his company mail server to refuse new email and send a "Sorry, This user's Mailbox is full" message to all new senders. When he returned from his vacation, he simply selected everything in his in-box and draged it into his spam folder for future use.
Total time to process new e-mail after a vacation: 2 minutes.
OK, so I probably would not do this and I'm not advocating that you do it either; however, it sure is a tempting idea. I'd go for an "Out of Office" feature that simply returned the email to the sender, explaining that I'm away and unable to process their email at this time.
What do you think?