02/25/2013 11:56 am ET

JC Penney Exec Admits Its Employees Harbored Enormous YouTube Addiction

Watching YouTube videos all day at work may seem too good to be true. But not too long ago, that wasn't far from the case at JC Penney headquarters.

In January 2012, the 4,800 people working at JC Penney’s headquarters in Plano, Texas, watched five million YouTube videos while working, taking up more than 30 percent of the headquarters bandwidth, Michael Kramer, the company’s chief operating officer, has told the Wall Street Journal. JC Penney didn't immediately return an emailed request for comment from The Huffington Post.

In the months since then, Kramer, who was brought in by JC Penney CEO Ron Johnson, says he’s tried to transform the company’s culture. As a result, the headquarters formerly filled with YouTube watchers now has 1,600 fewer people, according to the WSJ.

(Click over to the WSJ for more on Johnson's tenure as CEO)

The layoffs are part of Johnson's attempt to transform the entire company. Some of his initial changes -- like getting rid of sales and coupons -- proved too radical and backfired. Yet he’s pushing forward with many of the reforms (though he did bring back the sales). There's been little payoff thus far, as sales continue to plunge at Penney stores across the country.

Considering all that, YouTube-watching habits may be the least of JC Penney’s concerns. Watching videos and looking at photos of cute animals actually boosts productivity, an October study found. In addition, a 2009 study found that employees who surf the internet at work are usually more productive.

So as long as you don't catch an employee outsourcing his entire job to China in order to feed a cat video addiction, let's maybe not be so hard on people caught clicking play every once in a while.



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