PETALING JAYA: Malaysian firms place greater priority on green credentials when renting office space compared with the rest of Asia Pacific, said independent global property consultancy Knight Frank. According to its 2015 Asia Pacific Office Occupier Survey, which was undertaken by over 270 companies in Asia Pacific across eight industries, green credentials are placed at the bottom of the list of priorities across the region except in Malaysia. “Many MNCs here in Malaysia recognise that an energy-saving building can produce cost savings to their operation over the long run,” Knight Frank Malaysia executive director of commercial agency Teh Young Khean said in a statement yesterday. The survey also revealed that more than half (56%) of Malaysian respondents adopt a flexible work programme, second only to Australia where 82% of respondents said they adopt a flexible work programme. Most of the survey respondents who said they accept flexible working practices allow their staff to work from home or in multiple locations. “Consistent with our findings last year, rent remains as the most important consideration. We are, however, certainly witnessing a shift to a more flexible work environment – most notably in Australia and Southeast Asia. “Our findings also support the principle that Asia Pacific continues to be a growth market, with over 60% of respondents foreseeing that their headcount will grow over the next 12 months – a positive sign for the region,” Knight Frank Asia Pacific head of global corporate services, Ross Criddle. Meanwhile, Knight Frank Thailand executive director and head of commercial Marcus Burtenshaw said many firms continue to leave it to the last six months before thinking about what to do at their next lease expiry, which he says is a consistent finding of the survey each year. “Six months does not provide enough time to properly weigh your alternatives, and to put contingency plans into action. This could potentially lead to occupiers facing no alternative but to accept the landlord’s proposed terms, whatever they might be. “We recommend tenants to start this process at least a year in advance of lease expiry. This provides more time for market investigations, conduct renewal negotiations and, if necessary, to still provide time to fit-out and relocate to new premises. Bear in mind though that tenants occupying multiple floors or in markets with limited options should start this process even sooner,” he said. The survey showed that 42% of respondents only start preparing six months ahead of a lease expiry while 35% said they start preparing 12 months ahead. Only 9% said they start preparations 24 months before lease expiry.