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7 Gift Ideas for Administrative Professionals Day

by Martin Lieberman, Staples®

Many say the most important person in their company isn’t the president or CEO, it’s the administrative professional.

Administrative professionals keep the office running, handling everything from accounting and logistics to catering services and event planning and more. In fact, in a recent Staples survey, 40 percent of administrative professionals report they have provided childcare for co-workers, 20 percent say they’ve watched pets, 20 percent are known as the resident “fashion consultant” and more than 10 percent admit they have even been the office “matchmaker.”

“A truly indispensable executive assistant is and always will be the backbone of an organization,” says Victoria Rabin, CEO of the Executive Assistants Organization. “They have an intrinsic understanding of the company and the executive at its helm. The mission of an executive assistant is to make their executive successful. Therefore, knowing their modus operandi is power.”

While companies should celebrate these hard-working employees every day, Administrative Professionals® Day is specifically set aside to do so. If you’re looking for a way to recognize the person who helps you the most, here are some great meaningful ways to let your admin know you appreciate all he or she does.

1. Time Off: Chances are good your administrative professional is available any time of day he or she is needed — even weekends. Reward that flexibility with a clear calendar and some extra time off. A day, a few hours, the amount is up to you. “Last year, our department gave all administrative staff four paid hours of time off, equal to half a day off work,” says Andi Berger, senior practice assistant in the Department of Dermatology at Brigham and Women's Hospital. “It was great for me, because I had the luxury of sleeping in on a Friday morning and having a relaxing start to my day.”

2. Flowers: Brighten up your assistant’s desk with a nice bouquet of flowers. It’ll add color and a pleasant scent to the office, and bring a big smile to your hard-working assistant’s face.

3. Gift Cards: Let your administrative pro choose his or her own gift — you just have to pick the amount. Choose from a specially branded, customizable Staples® eGift card (Administrative Assistant Day cards are available through April 24, 2014) or a gift card from one of your assistant’s favorite stores or restaurants.

4. Desk Makeover: Why not give your assistant’s desk a makeover? Colorful accessories from a brand like Poppin® will bring excitement to any desktop. Or choose something else that will help your assistant to further customize the desk. “A gift that would be perfect for me would be fun pens,” says Erinn Powers, an administrative assistant at Briscoe Middle School in Beverly, MA. “And not just colored ink. I mean pens that have personality to them. I have a whole collection on my desk and always love getting new fun additions.”

5. Lunch: Your assistant is always ordering lunch for you. Why not order for your assistant for a change? You can treat your assistant to a surprise catered lunch in the office, or take him or her out for a stress-free meal at a favorite local place.

6. Coffeemaker: Let your administrative assistant arrive at the office fully caffeinated by equipping him or her with a coffeemaker for the home. A Keurig® single-cup coffee brewer lets your assistant pick a favorite flavor without having to worry about what anybody else wants.

7. Massage or Spa Treatment: Your administrative assistant is always helping you to be your best. Return the favor with something rejuvenating and energizing. “I know many organizations also reward staff with perks such as massages or other personal well-being rewards,” Berger says. “Activities like these replenish the soul.”

Complement and Compliment the Work

When selecting a gift for your assistant, it’s important to keep one thing in mind: “Executive assistants are tough to buy for as they are professional gift buyers,” Rabin says. “I always buy my assistant a gift that complements her work and that accents her personality.” After all, you know your admin best.

If you can’t afford a gift, at least make sure to say “thank you.” The point is to be appreciative, because you would surely be less effective without your assistant.

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