ALONG with the rat race, the push for higher productivity by employers to cushion against rising wages has been taking its toll on workers lately. On top of that, many complain of being bullied - not so much by their bosses as by their colleagues.

The biggest complaint against bosses is that they are trying to squeeze more from fewer workers. This has led to complaints of heavier workload and greater stress at work, says a survey report released yesterday.

Two in three of the 2,281 workers from all levels that job portal JobsCentral polled recently say they have been piled with more work in the past six months. And most - 83.3 per cent - of them report that their stress level has shot up at the same time.

"Singapore's workplace environment is a tough and demanding one," says Michelle Lim, JobsCentral's chief operating officer. "Workers place career as one of the top priorities in their lives and often make personal sacrifices for job advancements."

Meanwhile, facing increasing costs, she says employers are embarking "on the unending quest for higher productivity".

"It is not surprising that our workers are feeling more stressed and working longer hours," Ms Lim says.

To cope with more work, 60 per cent of the workers affected, especially those earning more than $5,000 in monthly salary, are clocking longer hours - at least an extra hour, three days or more each week.

A third of the workers bring work home to complete, 22 per cent have worked from home despite being on sick leave, and 18 per cent even pack their work with them to go on vacation.

"Technology such as 3G and Wi-Fi on smart phones, tablets and laptops means that you can take work with you wherever you may be," Ms Lim says. "And it also means that employers have the expectation that you are available even after office hours."

On top of more workload and stress, workers also have to put up with bullies in the office.

One in four of those in the survey complain about bullying, but their biggest tormentor is not the boss. Nearly three-quarters of them - especially of older workers in the 41-50 age group - point their fingers at fellow workers.

Only 62 per cent say the bully is their superiors, while 21 per cent whine about their clients.

After the older workers, women are the next biggest group (27 per cent) who feel the effects of bullying behaviours at work. Only one-fifth of the men report they are victims of bullying.

The survey shows administrative staff are the easiest targets of bullies, with 31 per cent having been victims.

The figures for professionals and executives, managers and directors and technicians are 23 per cent, 22 per cent and 22 per cent respectively.