Blocking the blogA fellow blogger writes on her blog how Blogger is now blocked in his office (didn't want to link to the post without permission and induce any "doocing".) The Indian Express on Sunday had an article on how people are getting fired for spending time on social networking sites despite being told not to. Unlike the facetious "jalao-jalao" fetish of politicians when it comes to web technology, this is a much more serious problem that needs some more thought than merely blocking popular websites.
These measures don't work very effectively because proxy sites can be accessed or new proxy sites can be set up with not too much difficulty. People can blog via email or by Blogger APIs. One can read blogs via news aggregators. In fact, for every ban, if there is enough will, it can be subverted with not much inconvenience. Administrators need to understand that the nature of technology is such. Alternative IMs, blogs, social networks will crop up innovatively to staunch the demand. As long as you cannot ban email and/or a search engine, you will keep tilting at the windmills.
However, this is not to defend those malingerers who are not working. In my personal experience, most good people manage a good balance of work and timepass (this *is* usually timepass, as is chatting all the while on mobile phones with blaring ringtones to boot). But a lot of people aren't quite that professional. It's not just about web access, but their lack of professionalism extends to other spheres as well. The bad habits of these people end up overshadowing the benefits of networking and blogging sites.
It's a tough situation, and some more creative solutions are needed. The Infosys model of allowing access only for a few hours (the actual implementation on the ground is a little flawed, according to reports) may be a short-term solution, but I would cringe at working in such a place. However, these models are becoming more universally adopted, which is a shame. I may have a low attention threshold, but I'd like to think that never has work suffered because of my browsing or blogging. However, I'd stay away from making such a claim for all fellow workers. Free internet access is a huge bonus of working in such industries and perhaps it can be used as an incentive to improve work habits. A one-size-fits-all approach is not going to work in the long run.