Brave New World, Brave New Rules

Virginia's Gov. Gilmore has stated, 'We must rethink the old rules, the old models, the old ways by which government has always operated.'

Virginia's Gov. Gilmore has stated, "We must rethink the old rules, the

old models, the old ways by which government has always operated."

Indeed, in the Digital Age, the individual — not government — is setting

the rules. But the old rules of the federal bureaucracy apparently have

not come to terms with this new and empowering digital world.

The contrast was never clearer than with the Nov. 11, 1999, advisory

letter by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that proposed

regulating the home offices of citizens across the country. More than simply

a letter, this was a binding, regulatory action with legal standing in

court.

Such heavy-handed actions throw cold water on states' efforts to harness

the power of the new economy, which can be fueled by allowing individuals

to work from home.

Like other areas of the nation with growing urban areas and work force

shortages in critical occupations, Virginia views "telework" as a great

example of developing new rules for a new economy.

Our transportation officials understand that we require a comprehensive

approach to meeting commuters' needs, including making more efficient use

of the technology infrastructure we have in place.

And our business community knows we must be open to multiple ways of

retaining employees already in the work force, as well as attracting qualified

individuals who may be "on the sidelines" for family or lifestyle reasons.

This is a particular concern in the technology field, where employees are

in high demand. Within Virginia, for example, about 30,000 high-tech positions

are unfilled.

We realize that we will not be able to address the complex issues of

the 21st century with the narrow thinking that has so often characterized

government bureaucracies. Our economy and our society, indeed every aspect

of the way we live, are rapidly moving into the Information Age. The tired

rules of a fading society should not be the basis on which government operates

in the coming years. Many of Gilmore's major initiatives cut across traditional

program boundaries to comprehensively address core issues and problems.

That is certainly the case with the governor's telework proposal, which

is circulating in the Virginia General Assembly. The initiative includes

$10 million in tax credits for firms that support new telework opportunities

in Virginia and encourages technology companies to look to high unemployment

areas for developing teleworking centers. It passed the Assembly's House

of Delegates last month by a vote of 89-10, and it has a high level of support

as it moves to the state Senate.

The program is intended to jump-start teleworking initiatives in key

areas of the state, where they can have maximum impact from transportation,

work force and lifestyle perspectives. Employers would be eligible for tax

credits of up to $2,000 per new teleworking employee. This program has the

potential to generate as many as 5,000 new teleworkers.

Had OSHA chosen to proceed with its new policy, it would have had a

tremendously chilling effect on Virginia's telework effort.

Prospective employer participants would have cut off discussions immediately.

Those who had signed up would have deluged us with calls about rescinding

commitments. In short, the collaborative state and regional efforts that

we are so carefully building could have been wiped out.

Thankfully, U.S. Labor Department Secretary Alexis Herman wisely, but

belatedly, withdrew the advisory letter weeks later. Had she not, I question

whether we would have been able to regain momentum and credibility at what

would have been a critical time in our program.

OSHA's Nov. 11 advisory letter is a perfect example of old-world rules

being applied disastrously to the new-world economy.

We realize that telework, though simple in concept, is a complex issue

with potential benefits in many areas of our economy and many segments of

our citizenry. It is a concept, therefore, that requires all of us — employers,

employees and government at all levels — to rethink old notions of the workplace.

Some futurists tell us that tomorrow's Information Age workers will

be predominantly independent contractors, working out of their own homes.

Even if that proves only partially true, the specter of OSHA inspectors

traipsing house-to-house is one we need to head off now.

We should not look at the Nov. 11 letter and its fallout as an isolated

incident. The old bureaucracy will not be able to come to grips with the

Digital Age overnight, and those types of incidents will occur again. Government

must break the mold and approach this brave new world with brave new rules

that are innovative, unique and often untried.

— Upson is Virginia's secretary of technology.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.