How soon could one return to work after herniated disk surgery?

Quickly. For sedentary type work activities you could return within 1 to 2 weeks.
2-8 weeks. Recovering from disc surgery depends on the extent of disc protrusion and the type of surgery. If a laproscopic procedure will do the job likely only a few weeks will be needed to recover, but if a laminectomy is done it may take a few months to heal.