For encouraging communication, the department re-organised the office and seats for the research students, putting people who are in the same group together, or in a big office to reducing isolate working and enhancing communication.
But what we see normally is most of the students are wearing big earphone, put a kind of rear-view mirror on the displayer, or not work in the office any more. Actually, whether we are in the same office or not, we are talk not very much except need to discuss a particular issue of the research and in this situation, we will not be in the office.
Thus, the whole lab is busy, moving but quiet. But talking becomes noise when two or three people together discussing in the office. And this kind of discussion could be noise for anyone who is focusing on their work at that moment. That’s why earphone becomes a necessary tool there. I don’t think everyone has the similar habit that listen music when they are doing research or writing a paper. Most people have earphone for avoiding be affected in a big office, everyone prefer to have a small space even though the very social person, isn’t it?