University of derby logo

@DerbyUni - Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, video conferencing has become the communication tool of choice for many people, both personally and professionally. Here Dr Jane Montague, Head of Psychology at the University of Derby, and BSc (Hons) Psychology students Beatrice Henshaw and Sheela Payne, explore the opportunities and challenges the growth of video conferencing has brought and how it is affecting individuals’ lives.

The growing availability of video conferencing has enabled less physically-able members of families, or those who are/were shielding, to spend time together in the absence of in-person opportunities, which has meant, at least for some, that the isolation and loneliness they might have experienced has been somewhat alleviated.

Much media coverage has focused on the preferred tools (Zoom, Webex, Teams and Skype to name but a few) as well as the activities that have been enabled – quizzes, family bingo, art gallery trips and so on – in addition to regularly catching up and chatting with family and friends. This has been reported to bring families closer together during times of celebration (Ramadan, for example) while also benefitting those who would not usually utilise online communication.

In some professional spaces there has been a move to using video conferencing more widely. This has been particularly implemented in holding meetings where face-to-face options are no longer available. Research into the uninterrupted continuation of working lives facilitated through video-conferencing tools has begun to appear. Some evidence, for example, demonstrates that a culture shift from telephone to video-calling facilitates better working relationships, easier communication and promotes opportunities for collaboration; this benefits the employer as it provides a more inclusive means of their employees continuing their roles.

The growth of video conferencing

The growth has also been shown to have aided those in remote areas to be integrated into meetings more readily. This has meant that a greater number of individuals have been able to transition into the online workspace necessitated by the physical limitations imposed by the pandemic. This removal of barriers to work for those who have competing demands on their time, who might not fit the usual ‘norm’ of the working day/week, or who are geographically isolated, has been beneficial in facilitating the continuation of business in a number of organisational contexts.

Things are not all positive, however. Although time spent physically moving between meetings is unnecessary, the oftentimes intermittent nature of connectivity in the online sphere means that levels of efficiency become differently challenged. It is also more tiring focusing on the small interactional space available in an online meeting and the loss of the full sensory experience of being in a face-to-face setting can disrupt concentration.

Creating an equal balance of voices

Another challenge to the success of online workplace interactions is the emphasis on the struggle to create an equal balance between different voices. Much research that focuses on offline workplace interactions reports on difficulties that women have on being heard within meetings. The dominance of men’s voices in workplace settings has long been a focus of research, with some showing that women’s ideas and contributions are less clearly represented in those settings. Similarly, in online settings it seems women often find it harder to be heard, men are reported to talk over each other, and it seems women are more negatively impacted by the lack of non-verbal and body language cues. This means that maintaining/gaining a presence in conversation can be problematic and some women are less likely to speak up than they might when face-to-face.

Training in this new working environment seems to be lacking for many people and reports suggest that there are a variety of ways in which individuals can be helped to feel more confident in these online spaces. These initiatives should include training to use the conferencing tools themselves, each of which is slightly different. However, training should not be limited to these and aspects such as responsibility, engagement, and best ways of responding during online meetings should also be a focus.

Balancing work requirements with individual’s home lives

In addition to challenges people find around accommodating the variety of work requirements they might have, it is important to take account of other aspects of individuals’ lives, particularly at the current time with schooling/childminding/caring demands to balance. Consideration should be given of the potential for increased stress levels, such as in relation to working with the technology, one’s appearance when constantly expected to be on camera and juggling competing demands on time and attention. Accommodation of these should be incorporated into training.

Awareness should also be raised in relation to the unconscious biases that might accompany video conferencing. Gender differences in interactional styles are discussed above, but account should also be taken of different cultural and lifestyle aspects that can impact on an individual’s confidence in engaging in this context. Research suggests that little attention is paid to those who are part of the LGBT+ community and articles reviewed focused on the binary male/female that is often seen in the media. These limitations in research, and often in understanding of individuals’ differing contexts, must be focused on as these ways of working develop.


You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertiser Skyscrapers

Video Advert

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 10 hours 18 minutes ago

RT @FENews: What should be in the FE White Paper? #SkillsWorldLive 2.3: Tonight's guests include:  Ella Whelan | Tom Richmond | Anthony Imp…
View Original Tweet

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page