will work be able to view my internet activity? I do have the facility to use VPN on my work laptop so I can check work emails etc from home, but I have to constantly keep signing into this as it tends to log you out, so i don't think this was switched on either. There wasn't anything bad just rightmove website etc - but i'm paranoid!
If it's a work-provided laptop, they would be in their legal rights (assuming you are in the U.S.) to check any and all activity on that laptop.
Technically speaking they can definitely see your web surfing activity. Depending on what 3rd party software and/or corporate spyware they installed, if any, the would probably need to actually take it from you to examine it for this.
If you were on the VPN it is easier for them to check, as depending on how your network settings were configured it's possible you were browsing through the VPN.
If the VPN was on then the traffic went through your work network and they may record traffic, or may not. Every site you go to gets written in your browser history as well as multiple locations on disk. You also have to worry about cookies, flash variables (flash cookies), monitoring software your company installed.
The best thing to do would be to not use your work laptop for personal activities as they most likely monitor it.