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10 Custom Gifts Your Administrative Pros Won’t Store in the Junk Drawer

Secretary. Receptionist. Executive Assistant. Operations Coordinator. Project Administrator. These are just some of the names of the essential personnel who make up the broad, irreplaceable workforce of administrative professionals.

Because of these people’s hard work, behind-the-scenes support, and tireless assistance, three professionals helped to establish the observance of National Secretaries Day in 1952. In 1981, with the Mad Men era behind us, the name was changed to Administrative Professionals Day to reflect the diverse kinds of people doing all kinds of critical work. From scheduling appointments to planning travel to managing off-site projects and freelance workers to coordinating benefits, administrative professionals are truly can’t-live-without-them assets at any workplace.

Come the last week of April, you’re probably going to want to thank your administrative staff for all the ways they make your job (and life) easier and support your business. When you think “administrative gifts,” engraved pens and padfolios might immediately come to mind – but most admins are already swimming in office supplies and up to their necks in notebooks.

Instead of giving the same old thing, try something that will reward your employees’ loyalty and contributions or encourage them to unwind. Our list will help you choose a customized gift that’s perfect for any personality and will go a long way towards showing your appreciation.Wax-Candle

1. Candle

One way to thank your staff for their efforts during the work week is to encourage quality downtime during their days off. Nothing says “relax” quite like a candle (which is ironic, because nothing says “panic” like an out-of-control blaze). An aromatherapy wax candle is a lightly scented, beautifully packaged way to say thanks while promoting mental well-being and rest. Keep burnout at bay with this staple of a cozy, laid-back after-work life.

2. Wine GlassesStemless-Wine-Glass

The best gifts are the ones that you know your employees will actually use. These stemless wine glasses are classy, modern, and durable. Pairing this set of glasses with a local bottle of wine is a perfect way to say “Cheers!” to another year of success and teamwork. You might also throw in an extra day of PTO to allow your employees a chance to kick back, put their feet up, and pour themselves a hard-earned glass of Pinot Noir.

3. ChocolateChocolate-Bar

We at QLP tend to think that chocolate is the perfect gift for any occasion and that there’s no wrong way to give it. However, these chocolate bars make it easy to surprise any admin with some sweetness. Leave them on their desks or in their office mailboxes first thing in the morning to kick off their day with the best gift of all – a sugar rush. (And if you’re looking for a message to imprint on these, we suggest “you rock.”)

4. Mug or TumblerMug-and-Travel-Mug

Administrative staff across the country includes people who differ widely in age, gender, race, and educational background, but one thing remains fairly consistent: their quest to stay caffeinated. As of 2013, over 83% of Americans started their day with coffee. Once you add herbal tea purists and hot chocolate aficionados, you end up with a whole lot of people making drinks. All this math means that a custom coffee cup is likely to be well used and well loved. Whether it’s a ceramic desk mug or a quality travel tumbler, durable drinkware will help make every morning easier. For double the appreciation power, add a gift card to a local coffeehouse to each mug!Watch

5. Watch

You know your employees best. Some will feel celebrated with a gift card or a bottle of bubbly. Others might merit something a little more sparkly. Give the gift of bling with men’s or women’s watches. Giving gold watches to celebrate retirement has fallen out of tradition due to budget cuts and hiring trends, but if you’ve got a longtime busy executive assistant or project administrator, a custom watch might the perfect way to thank them for their commitment and honor their work ethic.Flower-in-a-Pot

6. Plant

Flowers are always a meaningful gesture, but they fade fast. A better way to say thanks with flora? The Snap-In Blossom Kit. These custom flowering kits can add some cheer to any desk space or kitchen garden. You can also choose from flowers like forget-me-nots, sunflowers, and marigolds to herbs like basil and parsley. These easy-to-grow and easy-to-give gifts will keep goodwill and appreciation in bloom all year.

7. Spa ProductsPersonal-Care-Kit

You might not be able to send your staff away to a seaside spa for the weekend, but you can bring the spa to them. The Deluxe His and Her Personal Care Kit includes a collection of pampering products like a massager, pumice stone, bath slippers, and other luxury items that will help battle stress. It might not be a mud bath or trip to the salt caves, but it will definitely help inspire rejuvenation!

8. FleeceFleece-Jacket

April marks the middle of spring, but it’s also usually a weird, wet month. If it’s raining or not quite seasonably warm yet, employees will appreciate a custom fleece to help them get through the in-between weather. In both men and women’s styles, these fleece jackets are comfy, fashionable, and versatile – they can be worn anywhere from the grocery store during a thunderstorm to camping trips to the office if the AC is blasting a little too high.

9. Portable ChargerDual-Port-Charger

Your staff is probably made up of busy, connected, plugged-in people. Whether they’re listening to podcasts while they work on spreadsheets and conduct research or are multitasking in the line at Starbucks by picking up lattes for the sales conference and booking trade show travel, their devices get a lot of use. You can help them stay connected to everything that helps them do their jobs better with a quality portable charger. A powered up device will be one less thing to stress about when they use it at their home, on business trips, or on a well-deserved vacation.

10. HeadphonesHeadphones

There are two types of people: those who require complete silence to be productive and those who work better with music or white noise to keep them on task. These noise-cancelling headphones cater to both. They can be used in their noise cancellation mode, helping drown out excess noise and get down to business, or used as regular headphones to pump out a motivating project playlist. These headphones are a great way to make any work day a little better.

The end of April will be here before you know it, so start planning how you’ll celebrate your support staff today. There are plenty of ways to say thank you, but the most important thing is finding the right gift that will help your staff feel recognized and appreciated!

Do you celebrate Administrative Professionals Day? Have you ever given any gifts like the ones from this list? What’s been your best received gift? Let us know in the comments below.

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  1. Stacy Gruca

    Great Blog Marianne!

    I recently got to see some of the awesome custom watches that have been done. I didn’t realize how COOL they can be! What a great idea for a “retail” promo gift. Being a coffee enthusiast myself, I always appreciate a good mug/tumbler. So I agree 100% they are a great gift for any team.

  2. Gina

    Nice finds!

    We get a lot of clients who are looking for something that has more of a gift potential than a typical giveaway item. Many times these are given as tokens of appreciation for employees, so the items in this post are perfect! Customers tend to want a bit more permanence, meaning, and value when considering gifted items. Plants are always a hit in this case, especially as we round the corner into spring season! The great thing about the Snap-In Blossom Kit is that it lasts! We have one in our windowsill in the office from quite a bit ago, still going strong. I think the Aromatherapy Candles and His/Her Care Kits are also ideal because they are useful to the receiver, meaning your logo is sure to hang around for awhile! Gifts of this nature are sure to keep costs down while letting your hard-working staff know that you appreciate all they do for you around the office!

  3. Erin

    Great gift ideas – I wouldn’t be tossing any of these items aside!! Clients looking for more than just a giveaway can definitely consider all of these items a very premium gift for their employees or valued customers. I really love the plant and candle idea – these are both great items to keep on your desk that anyone would appreciate and may not buy for themselves.

  4. PMO

    The ol’ “To toss or keep” is a game we seem to play on the daily!

    So much swag comes through these doors and makes it way through to my home whenever a product has the “Keep it” factor.

    And these items you posted are all keepers!

    Great work compiling the list.

  5. Jay

    Nail hit on head!

    You definitely don’t want to give your customers what we like to call “pre-garbage”! ha! Things that are useful always last longer, get more looks and in turn, a bigger ROI for the customer. NOW… chocolate might not sit on your desk and remind you of who sent it from now until the end of time, and I *could* make a case against said chocolate but customers LOVE them and always mention how good it is, so I can’t disagree there!

  6. Arnav Desai

    Well Marianne, these truly are working and practical ideas for gifting office personnel. I believe none would throw away or keep them in a drawer and forget. Rather with careful thought and creative gift personalization ideas, many of these gift items can make lasting impression on business associates and employees.

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