5 Affordable Gifts for Administrative Professionals Day

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If you're a boss, what do you get your staff for what was formerly called Secretaries Day? And if you're on staff and the boss asks what you want, what do you say? Here are five ideas.

My wife is bossy – in a good way. When we were dating, she was the boss of a dozen employees. Now she’s the boss of nearly 100. And like she does every year, tomorrow’s date is circled in her calendar. Because Wednesday is Administrative Professionals Day.

Formerly known as Secretaries Day, this is the unofficial holiday when bosses recognize their support staff. What’s considered an appropriate way to say “Thank you for all you do?” Here are five that never fail and won’t break the bank…

1. Flowers and plants

Florists have realized this is the most profitable holiday to exploit between Easter and graduation. From 1-800 Flowers to your local florist, deals abound. If you peruse floral sites, you’ll notice the offerings have expanded beyond blooms – you can get live orchids and even bonsai trees, which will make pleasing desk decorations well after the holiday.

2. Lunch

You can’t go wrong with a meal, and local restaurants know it. Check your local newspaper website for deals – like these from The Miami Herald,  Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Dallas Morning News.

3. Happy Hour

While drinking with your employees can be dangerous, a couple of Happy Hour drinks might be a nice way to reward a tight-knit staff. Search your favorite local bar’s website for deals, or consult websites like Open Table – here’s the listing of all Administrative Professional Day Happy Hours in the San Francisco area, for instance. And if your staff is large, don’t be shy about asking for freebies. Some bars might offer free appetizers if you agree to bring in a large group.

4. Knick knacks

Sites like Gifts.com have compiled their ideas into one handy guide and can ship specials to you overnight. Our favorites from this year’s list: a book called 50 Jobs Worse Than Yours and Origami Sticky Notes.

5. Breakfast

I saved the best for last. This is my wife’s secret weapon. Why? For several reasons…

  • For the same price as lunch for a handful, my wife buys dozens of bagels and donuts, a gallon of coffee, some orange juice, and lots of flavored cream cheese for the entire office – even those who aren’t exactly “administrative professionals.” That keeps everyone happy and motivated.
  • Breakfast is a great way to start off the morning, while lunch is a two-hour ordeal of herding everyone together, walking or driving to the restaurant, figuring out the seating, and getting back to work. Besides, some folks are picky about where they go for lunch and who they eat with. But no one complains about free bagels in the break room or at their desk.
  • Knick knacks can end up in a drawer, and there’s always the time-consuming process of figuring out who gets what, and how many to buy for.

In addition to these ideas, here’s an extra that costs nothing: “Nominate employees for internal and external achievement awards,” says temp staffing firm Office Team. What’s that mean? Simple: Create your own awards program or nominate your people for awards offered by professional organizations and trade associations. Check out their 30 Creative Ideas for Boosting Morale – but if you’re a boss, my wife suggests that you do more than only this. Recognition without at least a token gift might come across like you’re cheaping out on the holiday.

Whatever you do as a boss, make sure you say thank you – because Boss’s Day is Oct. 16.

Stacy Johnson

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