For as long as there has been fashion, professionals have waxed poetic about the clothes we wear and what they say about us. Dress for success. Dress for the job you want. Fashion is instant language.
Today, in the age of hybrid work, a more casual culture in general, and changing gender norms, getting dressed — or, rather, not getting dressed — turns those maxims on their heads. It may not be Mr. Smith’s Washington anymore, as time, convenience and technology have loosened and diversified the culture of government.
In 2020, 45% of the federal workforce teleworked. Many federal agencies, along with the rest of government and the private sector, took the position that productivity could be achieved from a home office — at first by necessity, and now increasingly, by choice.
Today, many agencies are continuing to embrace telework in at least some ways, with exceptions for those whose work deals with classified information, public safety, special equipment or public-facing interactions.
So, that begs the question: if fashion is the reason for going, as Andy Warhol once said, and the reason for going has diminished, what are we getting dressed for?
Your input in the poll below will help shape that answer. Federal Times is interested in documenting the many ways in which the pandemic has changed the way the government works and including federal perspectives on workplace culture.
Federal Times will aim to publish the results in a few weeks.
Editor’s note: This is not a scientific survey. The poll is anonymous, though respondents have the option to share their contact email with reporters at Federal Times. Personal information will not be published.
Molly Weisner is a staff reporter for Federal Times where she covers labor, policy and contracting pertaining to the government workforce. She made previous stops at USA Today and McClatchy as a digital producer, and worked at The New York Times as a copy editor. Molly majored in journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.