Changing Aging Blog

Meet Chief Technology Officer Bill McGarry: Ecumen’s Poster Executive for National Clean Off Your Desk Day
Date: Jan 8th, 2018 9:15am


Ben Taylor

January 8 is National Clean Off Your Desk Day – a good day to meet and learn from Bill McGarry, Ecumen Vice President of IT and Chief Technology Officer.

Bill has a paperless office. No paper whatsoever. No file cabinets.  No three-ring binders. And no regrets.

“Paper is one of the biggest wastes in business,” Bill says. “And it’s inherently wasteful of time, energy and resources. You can’t do things with information on paper. You can’t get to the data.”



Bill makes notes with an electronic pencil on an iPad.  If someone hands him a piece of paper at a meeting, he scans it with his iPhone, stores a digital copy and recycles the paper.  It’s a discipline he’s been cultivating for almost 25 years.

He’s passionate on the subject of working efficiently and his example is creating buzz around the Home Office.  You will now see a couple of other members of the senior management team waving electronic pencils, including CEO Kathryn Roberts.     

Bill points out that the Ecumen 2020 strategy makes a strong commitment to more efficient operations through better data processes, procedures and technology. “I feel I should personally reflect that in everything we do,” he says.

For those who want to follow his example, Bill has some advice. “Be fearless. Just give it a try. Don’t be intimidated by technology and change.” You don’t need any special technology – just use what you have such as a smartphone, PC, iPad, whatever. The key is to develop the discipline to digitize paper whenever you receive it. 

The reward, he says, is that your ability to find and work with information increases dramatically (and “speed is value”).  Plus, you have access to your information from anywhere.

“Just give it a try,” Bill says. “Form a new habit and learn new ways of working. It will soon become like muscle memory. You’ll do it automatically.”

And there will be yet another benefit: you will make National Clean Off Your Desk Day irrelevant.

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