This year, the way we worked changed, and many brands and individuals stepped up to give us the tools to make 'the new normal' simpler, more efficient and more enjoyable. To show our appreciation, we added a WFH Hero category to the T3 Awards 2021.
This category encompasses: Personality of the Year, Courier Firm of the Year, Best Desk, Best Office Chair, Best Webcam, Best Home Office Computer, Best Home Office Accessory, Best Coffee Machine, Best WFH Mood Lifter, Best Working From Home Innovation, Best Video Chat App, Best Motivator and Best VPN.
There are 90 categories in the T3 Awards in total, and the winners have all been announced – head to our T3 Awards 2021 Winners rundown to find out the tech, homeware and outdoors gadgets that scooped gongs this year. But now let's take a look at the heroes that saved us from losing our marbles in our home offices this year...
Personality of the Year: Joe Wicks
One of the most motivational breakout stars of the last year was body coach Joe Wicks, who decided to brighten up kids’ lockdown (and many parents’ too) with his YouTube workouts when UK schools were closed due to COVID-19. They were an instant hit. As The Guardian put it: “he became the person, outside our nuclear family, who was most present in our lives during lockdown.”
Wicks put his new profile to good use, donating his video profits – believed to be around £500,000 – to the NHS and raising over £2.5 million for Children in Need with a livestream in November 2020. That earned him something almost as valuable as a T3 Award: the coveted gold Blue Peter badge.
Courier Firm of the Year: DPD
To describe couriers as essential workers would be an understatement: over the last year they’ve been a lifeline for those of us locked down and/or working from home. In what turned out to be the ultimate comparison test, DPD (opens in new tab) delivers thanks to a winning combination of an excellent app, real-time delivery data and couriers who go the extra mile.
Best Desk: Fully Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk
In a world of MDF monstrosities the Fully Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk stands out thanks to its beautiful, eco-friendly bamboo workspace and understated design. It’s designed to look good in any environment and there’s substance to match its style: it can lift weights of up to 158kg and you can adjust its height to suit a seated child or a tall standing adult.
Best Office Chair: HÅG Capisco 8106
The HÅG Capisco Desk Chair is a design classic that delivers a beautiful blend of form and function. That distinctive shape isn’t just for show: its unusual saddle seat enables you to switch easily between multiple seating positions, encouraging you to experiment and vary your posture throughout the day. That means you’re not staying in the same position for long periods.
Best Webcam: Logitech C922
Logitech makes a wide range of high quality webcams for every kind of application, and we think the Logitech C922 is the best all-rounder for everyday video recording and streaming. There’s a choice of 1080p or fast 720p at 60 fps, full HD gameplay recording with integrated background replacement, very effective autofocus and a good 78-degree field of view.
Best Home Office Computer: Mac mini (M1)
Apple’s new candy-coloured iMacs are getting all the attention right now, but the M1 Mac mini is a fraction of the price and boasts an 8-core M1 with 8-core GPU, twin Thunderbolt 3/USB 4 ports, HDMI output and two USB-A, and it can drive two displays simultaneously. This version of Apple’s little box absolutely rocks.
Best Home Office Accessory: Tado Smart Radiator Thermostat V3+
Working from home's cool and all; that is until the weather takes a turn for the worse and you face the reality of being at home all day, every day, with the heating on. Tado's Smart Radiator Thermostat lets you do it in a more energy-efficient way, without all the hassle of installing a whole new system.
It's easy to use, it attaches to your existing radiator (you might be able to do it yourself, but if you're scared of spills or worse then it wouldn't hurt to get a professional in) and acts as a temperature monitor, adjusting the water flow so that you can set every room in your home to the temperature you need while keeping energy consumption to a minimum.
Best Coffee Machine: Jura E8
Jura’s most popular coffee maker has a refreshed design and new features previously only available in the most premium coffee machines such as optimised fluid delivery and automatic milk system cleaning. The Jura E8 also uses AI to learn your favourites and adapt your start screen accordingly. One thing hasn’t changed, though: its ability to produce exceptional coffee from espresso to cortado.
Best WFH Mood Lifter: Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Animal Crossing: New Horizons (opens in new tab) couldn’t have been launched at a better time: with the world being told to stay home, millions of us turned to video games. But the success of this particular game wasn’t just about timing: it’s a warm, wonderful, magical slice of pure escapism for gamers of any age. It’s one of Nintendo’s best games to date.
Best Working From Home Innovation: Amazon eero 6
Amazon’s Eero 6 mesh router system is a fantastic upgrade for anyone working from home, and the latest Wi-Fi 6-enabled version plugs seamlessly into an existing Eero setup for easy upgrading. A single unit can deliver a strong Wi-Fi signal over up to 1,500 square feet, rising to 3,000 for a twin pack and 5,000 square feet for three. Wi-Fi 6 devices will then benefit from exceptionally quick Wi-Fi, while older devices can connect without suffering from the congestion that plagues older versions of the Wi-Fi standard. As we’ve come to expect from Amazon it’s effective, affordable and simple to set up and use. While you'll find more options in our best mesh network guide, the Eero 6 is an ideal system for anyone suddenly finding themselves working from home.
Best Video Chat App: Zoom Meeting
We used it for pub quizzes. We used it for virtual dinner parties. We used it to celebrate weddings and mourn at funerals. Sometimes we even used it for work. Zoom (opens in new tab)’s ease of use, generous free option and excellent reliability made it the breakout app of the COVID crisis, enabling us to be with the people we couldn’t be with.
Best Motivator: Fitbit Premium
Fitbit Premium (opens in new tab) takes the core Fitbit app and turns it into a personal trainer. It delivers over 200 workouts, 100 mindfulness sessions and 15 guided programmes. Fitbit Premium offers additional insights into your health and fitness down to your skin temperature (Sense models only) and it’s appropriate to everything from HIIT to healthy eating. It’s fun, friendly and undeniably effective.
Best VPN: ExpressVPN
- See all the T3 Awards 2021 winners