If you work in an office, chances are you interact with an administrative professional — or several — every day. These people form the foundation of every strong organization, and many industry leaders would be lost without their admin partners.

One day a year, on Administrative Professionals Day, we shower our dedicated administrative colleagues with gratitude and recognition. But these folks who work tirelessly behind the scenes — and do so largely in anonymity — deserve our thanks year-round.

Here’s what you need to know about Administrative Professionals Day, as well as some tips on how to celebrate it with thoughtful, practical gifts at your office.

A photo of Administrative Professionals Day with three people smiling at each other and two of them shaking hands

What is Administrative Professionals Day?

Observed annually on the Wednesday of the last full week of April — which, this year, is April 27 — Administrative Professionals Day is also referred to as Secretary’s Day or Admin Day. While not a nationally recognized holiday, it’s an opportunity to express gratitude and to acknowledge the many workplace contributions of administrative professionals.

Depending on where you work and the size of your team, a celebration may entail an office gathering to discuss and applaud the accomplishments of the company’s admins. In many offices, colleagues give thoughtful gifts that demonstrate their thanks for all the hard work admins do around the office.

The role of the administrative professional

Many different job titles fall under the category of “administrative professional.” These can be anything from administrative assistant to receptionist to office manager, and many others.

Likewise, the duties of an administrative professional, or admin, are numerous and varied. From working the front desk and welcoming guests to ensuring that the C-suite is running on time and efficiently, the office admin has dozens of hats to wear.

“The admin role is the ‘first line of defense’ in ensuring an efficient environment at work,” says Meg Paulsen, VP, human resources for 1-800-Flowers.com. “They have to understand all the nuances of the business, work seamlessly with other admins, manage priorities, and maintain the ultimate confidence of their leaders.”

One particularly important role the admin plays is welcoming visitors. “The admin is the first contact for guests of the company and, therefore, drives much of the first impression of potential job candidates, vendors, and investors,” Paulsen says.

harry & david gift basket

As workplaces have evolved, so too has the role of the administrative professional. Paulsen notes that she’s seen the expectations and duties of admins at work change dramatically during her career in HR, which spans more than two decades. “In the past, admin partners played a more tactical role, such as managing calendars and maybe grabbing lunch. Over time, the admin’s intimate knowledge of a company and their ability to navigate the politics of a workplace make them indispensable to a business’ smooth operations.”

The admin has also become indispensable to leadership. “A leader who really values and leverages their admin partner will ultimately be more successful than one who does not,” Paulsen notes.

Individuals in this essential role, however, often go underappreciated. Administrative Professionals Day provides a perfect opportunity to recognize the admins at your company for the many benefits they provide.

A leader who really values and leverages their admin partner will ultimately be more successful than one who does not.

Meg Paulsen, VP, human resources, 1-800-Flowers.com

4 ideas for showing appreciation on Administrative Professionals Day

There’s no one-size-fits-all way to celebrate this important workplace holiday, Paulsen says. Here are ideas for expressing your gratitude to your office administrators.

1. A thoughtful group gift

If your company is run by a hardworking, tightknit team of admins, then a gift that shows the entire group that the rest of the workforce appreciates their contributions is appropriate. After all, Paulsen notes, “Admin partners really are the backbone of a team.”

A photo of Administrative Professionals' Day with a bottle of wine next to a stack of gifts

In that case, she recommends pooling resources for a group gift with a personal touch. For example, you could surprise each admin with a box of baked treats in their favorite flavor. Gift a tin of fudgy brownies for the chocoholic, butter pecan cookies for the nut lover, and chocolate chip cookies for the dessert purist.

2. A heartfelt show of generosity

You can also pamper your admins with something a bit more indulgent. This could be buying them a spa gift certificate or delivering dinner to them. Or help bring the spa experience home with a gift basket that has everything she needs for the ultimate day of relaxation. Does your admin like to imbibe every now and then? Well, then, you can never ever go wrong with a bottle of wine (or two…or three…).

3. An office get-together

In addition to a tangible gift, it’s also a good idea to simply gather and express your thanks on Administrative Professionals Day. Take the opportunity to block off a lunch hour for the entire office to come together. Or, swap stories that illustrate the many contributions your admins make to the company.

4. A small gesture

You don’t have to spend a fortune to make your admin partners feel seen and appreciated. Even something as small as a card signed by the entire office can go a long way.


Lizzy Briskin is a chef, food writer, and recipe developer who runs the food content business Earthen Food Co. She's passionate about helping people lead more delicious lives, without overthinking it. Visit her at her website, earthenfood.co.

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