Creativity Greenhouse: Digital Brain Switch

  • Symon, Gillian (CoI)
  • Whittle, Jon (PI)
  • Roby, Helen (CoI)
  • Ang, Chee Siang (CoI)
  • Chamakiotis, Petros (Researcher)
  • Whiting, Rebecca (Researcher)
  • Rashid, Umar (Researcher)
  • Chong, Ming Ki (Researcher)

Project: Research

Project Details


The Digital Brain Switch (DBS) research project—which has been funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)—was motivated by the rise of digital communication technologies and their influence on our sense of work-life balance. The central research question explored in this project has been:

How do modern communications affect our ability to manage transitions across work-life boundaries? Does technology support us to manage transitions more flexibly, creating more permeable boundaries and a less segmented persona, or does it encourage leakage across boundaries and a difficult identity management task? How can we intervene in this process in a way that people find supportive and useful?

Professor Gillian Symon and Dr Petros Chamakiotis from Royal Holloway conducted in total 50 interviews with three groups of participants (further to a small pilot study): social entrepreneurs, office workers and university students.

As at March 2015, these, and other, data have been thematically analysed and the project team—comprising eight researchers, including social scientists and computer from four British Universities—have presented preliminary findings at relevant conferences (e.g. EGOS, BAM; see full list of publications below). The research findings are currently being written up as journal papers.

For further information about the project, please visit the DBS website on the link below.
Short titleDigital Brain Switch
Effective start/end date1/05/1330/06/15


  • Eng & Phys Sci Res Council EPSRC: £179,634.00


  • work-life balance
  • communication technologies
  • digital technologies
  • identity
  • role switches
  • virtuality