UN Secretariat Staff Health & Wellness Survey

UN Staff Health and Wellness Survey 2023

On October 1, 2023, the Division of Healthcare Management and Occupational Safety and Health (DHMOSH) under the Department of Operational Support (DOS) launched the UN Staff Health and Wellness Survey 2023 – a comprehensive survey which collects key information on the current physical and mental health of the UN workforce globally to assess the overall health and safety risks facing UN personnel. 

The survey closed on November 30, 2023. Results will be available in early 2024.



UN Staff Health and Wellness Survey 2021

In June 2021, the Department of Healthcare Management and Occupational Safety and Health (DHMOSH) under DOS and the Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance (DMSPC)  participated for the very first time in the United Nations-wide health and wellbeing survey, with over 20 other UN System organizations. This comprehensive survey aimed to evaluate the overall health and safety risks facing UN personnel and to collect information on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the physical and mental health of the UN’s workforce globally.  This will help the Organization improve its current health and wellbeing policies and shape its future approaches by including the views and feedback from the most important component of the Organization - its personnel.   

A total of 4,620 UN personnel worldwide responded (including from DPO peacekeeping missions and DPPA political mission) which represents 11% of the total UN Secretariat personnel world-wide. The following key findings, both positive and those that need further improvement, have been communicated to all Heads of Departments and Offices, Regional Commissions, Offices Away from Headquarters and Field Missions through a UN memo dated 6 December 2022

The current report focuses only on the physical health aspects. Analysis of the mental health aspects from the survey will be released in a subsequent phase

Positive Findings

  • 89% reported always wearing a seat belt in the car
  • 83% were non-smokers
  • 81% rated their office workstation as satisfactory/good/very good
  • 75% rated their home workstation as satisfactory/good/very good
  • 78% expressed desire to improve their health
  • 73% reported having a primary care provider
  • 65% were willing to participate in health promotion programs organized by UN

Areas for Improvement

  • 88% on average were sitting more than 6 hours during a working day
  • 86% consumed daily servings of fruits and vegetables less than 4 times a week
  • 81% have at least one or more medical condition including back pain (18%), high cholesterol (9%), anxiety (9%), high blood pressure (8%), depression (6%), arthritis (5%).
  • 51% ate meals with high cholesterol/fat/sugar more than once a week
  • 71% experienced bodily pain/discomfort in the past 6 months
  • 64% reported that they worked while sick
  • 54% were overweight/obese
  • 49% reported that a lack of time/ lack of motivation were the primary barriers to healthy living
  • 42% slept under 7 hours a night
  • 43% reported their self-ability to set up a comfortable workstation as fair/poor/very poor
  • 40% do not receive annual vaccination against influenza
  • 36% reported their overall health as fair/poor/very poor
  • 36% reported a sedentary lifestyle
  • 35% reporting that they need help finding a primary care doctor
  • 27% had no primary care physician

Top 3 health promotion programs requested

  1. 43% - increasing physical activity program
  2. 17% - weight loss program
  3. 15% - improving mental health program

This survey represents the first time the UN Secretariat has conducted a Staff Health & Wellness survey of its personnel globally. The findings provide us all with important baseline information to take action on and measure the impact of any future health programs. We expect the survey to be reported in subsequent years to be able to provide more trends to staff and management going forward.